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Trump’s Best Speech Was Still Pretty Awful

Trump-Speech-Congress

I live-Tweeted last night’s non-State of the Union Address.  My closing comment summed up my reaction: “That was both the best speech Trump has ever given and the worst presidential address I can recall.”

My opening comment sums up the former: “President Trump appears to have hired an actual speechwriter for the evening.” It was based on this opening passage:

Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains. Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.

A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning.

A new national pride is sweeping across our Nation.

And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.

What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit.

Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead.

All the nations of the world — friend or foe — will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free.

While perhaps pedestrian, that’s standard SOTU fare. And beats the hell out of the harsh, divisive tone of his inaugural address.

This was soon followed by the first headscratcher of the evening:

In 9 years, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our founding—250 years since the day we declared our Independence.

It will be one of the great milestones in the history of the world.

He referred to that milestone again and again and I actually missed the “In 9 years” qualifier live. Having lived through the yearlong pageantry of the Bicentennial as a 9- and 10-year-old, I was confused every time he referred to the 250th anniversary. It’s more than a little odd to constantly refer to an anniversary that’ll happen in someone else’s administration even if Trump serves two full terms.< This was followed by a series of grandiose promises, distortions about the recent past, and taking exaggerated credit for things. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary for him, certainly, or for these speeches.

This was somewhat groan-inducing:

To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to form a Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime. I have further ordered the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, along with the Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate an aggressive strategy to dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread across our Nation.

At the same time, my Administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration enforcement and border security. By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed — but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders.

For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.

As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised.

Mostly, I think, this is problematic in the context of Trump. It seems vaguely authoritarian to have a task force with that name and, given what we’re already doing in the way of rounding up illegal immigrants, it looks like the start of something sinister. Coming from an ordinary Republican president, however, it would probably just seem like standard tough-on-crime rhetoric.

He continued in that vein for a bit and came to this:

Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from Radical Islamic Terrorism.

This represents a victory for the Seb Gorka-Steve Bannon wing of the administration over the Jim Mattis-H.R. McMaster wing. It serves to make the Base feel good and to make the actual job of countering violent extremism more difficult. As I quipped live, “Finally the president uttered the magic words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ As I understand it, this ends terrorism.”

This was rather amusing:

As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS — a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.

My snark last night captured my thoughts: “Finally, the DoD is working on a plan to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIL.”  For those who don’t get the reference, those were the words President Obama used in his speech announcing the launch of counter-ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh operations.  While there’s room to criticize the actual operation, DoD has long since developed plans.

His ObamaCare replacement option was . . . interesting:

I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in the Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.

Here are the principles that should guide the Congress as we move to create a better healthcare system for all Americans:< First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.

Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts — but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by the Government.

Thirdly, we should give our great State Governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.

Fourthly, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance — and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately.

Finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across State lines — creating a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care.

This sounds a whole lot like ObamaCare plus some vague promises to make ObamaCare better and cheaper.

Next came the part of all these speeches I hate the most:  the trotting out of victims as stalking horses for pet programs:

Today is Rare Disease day, and joining us in the gallery is a Rare Disease Survivor, Megan Crowley.  Megan was diagnosed with Pompe Disease, a rare and serious illness, when she was 15 months old.  She was not expected to live past 5.

On receiving this news, Megan’s dad, John, fought with everything he had to save the life of his precious child.  He founded a company to look for a cure, and helped develop the drug that saved Megan’s life.  Today she is 20 years old — and a sophomore at Notre Dame.

Megan’s story is about the unbounded power of a father’s love for a daughter.

But our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and Drug Administration keeps too many advances, like the one that saved Megan’s life, from reaching those in need.

If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA but across our Government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles like Megan.

The most cringe-worthy and egregious episode, however, was this:

For two minutes, forty-seven seconds, the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL was used to score political points. I understand why she would want to be there to have her husband honored. And it’s quite possible that she felt honored and not exploited. Regardless, the clear intent here was to use emotion to drown out legitimate criticisms of the way the new administration approved a military operation that went tragically wrong. I found it simply shameful. The off-the-cuff quip (at least, it was not in the prepared remarks) about setting a record with the length of the applause added to the tackiness.

Little else in the speech was all that noteworthy.  There were repeats of bogus crime statistics and the like that Trump and company have been spouting for weeks.  There was the standard laundry list of undeliverable and unquantifiable promises.  And there were a few attempts at unification.

Most of the press commentary, including the bit of “Morning Joe” I caught while shaving and suiting up, were positive, spinning this as a potential “pivot” of Trump into a normal president.  Color me skeptical on that front. But, certainly, this was the closest I’ve seen Trump as a candidate or new president acting in something approaching a normal fashion.  That is, however, an exceedingly low bar.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Rick DeMent says:

    250 year anniversary is a Sestercentennial. too many syllables for Trump, not to mention the look on his fans face when they try and figure out what the hell he is talking about.

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  2. Munchtheterriblebox says:

    You guys are irrelevant.

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  3. Eric Florack says:

    Used to score political points?

    It would not scored any points at all if the leading Democrats had not simply sat on their hands.

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  4. Eric Florack says:

    As for the claim with bogus crime statistics, perhaps you haven’t read the New York Times this morning?

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/28/us/politics/fact-check-trump-congress-address.html?_r=0

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  5. Jake says:

    Yes, I get it everything Trump does is wrong. why even post articles your only tool in your tool bo is hate for Trump.

    Confirmation bias

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  6. Argon says:

    I think John Oliver did a pretty good takedown of the ‘tax credits’ and ‘HSA’ masquerade in his recent ‘Last Week Tonight’ episode here.

    The ‘it will cover you as well as your dad’s thong will cover his ass’ analogy is apt.

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  7. James Pearce says:

    Most of the press commentary, including the bit of “Morning Joe” I caught while shaving and suiting up, were positive, spinning this as a potential “pivot” of Trump into a normal president.

    Just announced: Trump will be attending the White House Correspondent’s Dinner after all. Really glad I subscribed to the Times. Resist!

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  8. Jen says:

    First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.

    Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts

    Access to coverage means absolutely nothing if there aren’t requirements to make sure the coverage is affordable. Everyone thinks this means “well, if you’ve had cancer, sure your rates will be high.” Pre-existing conditions go far, far beyond that. For an eye-opener on this, check out the experience of J.D. Roth, the personal finance blogger behind the site “Get Rich Slowly.” Before the ACA went into effect, Roth went through a divorce and was trying to find an individual policy. He was flat-out denied coverage based on prior use of a CPAP machine. He had lost weight and no longer used the CPAP, but was denied coverage.

    Mandating access simply means that if you have a condition, any at all, you can be charged whatever the insurance companies want to charge you. If it equals your monthly salary and you can’t afford it? Not their problem, they’ve provided “access.” Their end of the bargain is fulfilled.

    And Health Savings Accounts in a country that doesn’t save for retirement or emergencies is a flat-out joke. It’s a tax shelter for people who already have scads of money.

    He delivered a good speech well. It’s just full of policies that will hurt Americans.

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  9. Moosebreath says:

    “First, we should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage”

    @Jen: is exactly right –“access to” is doing the heavy lifting here.

    I have access to the yacht market, but that doesn’t mean I can afford one.

    As to the reviews of his speech, the soft bigotry of low expectations strikes again.

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  10. Argon says:

    Actually, I suspect the chief drive behind HSAs is to gift financiers and bankers with more of your money to play with. Actually, considering the tax sheltering effect, it’s providing additional subsidies to bankers as well. It’s the same internal, unspoken justification for privatizing Social Security.

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  11. Lit3Bolt says:

    I’m not that out of sorts by the pundits applauding Trump for reading his teleprompter. They knew beforehand that only Trump supporters would care to watch this speech, and thus altered their content accordingly to placate that audience.

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  12. cian says:

    Here’s what we know… already the Trump presidency is happy to use the authoritarian playbook- attack the media and judiciary and ramp up fear of the other. Behind the scenes presidential orders are being put in place to create the conditions for police state actions should the occasion arise (which it will). Increasing the number of ICE officials and extending their powers to local police forces would be one example of this. The Muslim ban was a kind of low key Kristallnacht, the aim of which was to gauge public sentiment on the issue of scapegoating a particular segment of the population while also causing protests in the hopes that they might turn violent. As such, it was a failure, but has provided valuable information on what adjustments need to be made. Trump’s announcement of V.O.I.C.E. is the start of this adjustment and be prepared to see a steady stream of reports hyping attacks on white citizens by dark ‘illegals’.

    We also know that the far right now has their man in the white house, two doors down from President Trump, and is the one directing policy. Bannon’s vision for the country is no secret and, for the most part, is shared by a majority of the republican party- To Make America White Again.

    The one fly in the ointment so far is Trump himself. He was bad as a candidate but they skated through. As a president, he has been an unmitigated disaster (even his Russian friends are starting to have their doubts). But Bannon knows this can be controlled, so long as the republican base is kept on side, and with the polls showing 80% support from republican voters, and fair winds ahead (the economy is good, employment is up, immigrant numbers are static, crime down, and all thanks to Obama) this is likely to be the case.

    So, this is the moment, and Bannon knows it. If the far right’s plan to fundamentally change American democracy is to work, they need to act now. Republicans control the House, senate, the presidency, a majority of state governorships and, soon, the supreme court. They have 2 years at the very most. The country is not happy, and is itching to restore separation of powers. During his first stint as Prime Minister, Putin’s popularity was at 2%. Suddenly a series of terrorist attacks occurred, Chechnya was blamed, war declared, and guess what happened next?

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  13. Modulo Myself says:

    Shorter Trump: If they me call presidential for one dead soldier, what will I get to be for a thousand dead soldiers?

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  14. Tyrell says:

    I have not had a lot of time to sift through, comb, analyze, and examine this speech. I am seeing and hearing a lot of positive comments about the speech out on the street. The morning radio had statements like: “Trump hit it out of the park”, “Awesome !”, “Best speech in years”, “Trump brought it last night !”, “We now have hope”, “He nailed it !”. They did an informal poll and 98% were highly favorable. The local paper also had high praise. A local restaurant said that customers were standing, cheering, some even crying !
    And this is a heavy Democratic area ! Even some of the main “news” media people have been favorable !
    This speech could well have been given by John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Reagan, Clinton.
    Some areas that I would have liked to heard addressed: energy-alternative fuel research, NASA, and technology.

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  15. al-Alameda says:

    Trump read his speech from a teleprompter, isn’t that supposed to be bad, very wrong, and an indication that he’s not very smart? That was the conservative standard and point of regular criticism of Obama; does it apply to Trump too?

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  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Tyrell:

    This speech could well have been given by John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Reagan, Clinton.

    You are truly drug-addled.
    Any of those four would have used a grieving widow for political points to cover for a colossal blunder; one which they refuse to accept responsibility? I don’t think so. Well, maybe Johnson.
    Even Carter accepted responsibility for Eagle Claw.
    Other than that it was typical…all bluster – no substance. And extreme mendacity. I guess that is what Republicans consider great these days.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

    That torch is now in our hands.

    For someone so obsessed with naming our enemies and uttering the exact phrase “Radical Islamic Terrorism”, he goes out of his way to not mention white supremacists. For someone who pals around with racists, it looks like a pretty intentional omission.

    He also does not specifically condemn the acts against Jews and Indians Who Look Like Arabs, he simply mentions the attacks before a vague condemnation. One might even read the vague condemnation of hate and evil and a condemnation of the victims rather than the attackers.

    The abrupt switch to torches is odd. Will they be accompanied by pitchforks? Or will they be used to set a synagogue ablaze?

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  18. James Pearce says:

    @Tyrell:

    They did an informal poll and 98% were highly favorable. The local paper also had high praise. A local restaurant said that customers were standing, cheering, some even crying !

    Why, it sounds almost as if Mr. Smith went to Washington again…

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  19. Pch101 says:

    Making Teleprompters Great Again.

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  20. grumpy realist says:

    This only happens to be a “great speech” by comparison to the usual word salad eructed from the Tangerine Blob.

    Eh, so what. I’ll work on learning Chinese and developing some useful technology. And as for the demise of Obamacare? The Trumpenproletariat will discover exactly how much Donald’s promises for a “bigger, better, cheaper healthcare system” will be worth after Obamacare dies and they’re thrown out to survive on their own: nothing.

    Get used to DIY heart surgery, guys, because that’s what you are looking forwards to.

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  21. Pch101 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    In a shocking development, Eric Florack posts a link from an actual news source.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t quite understand what it said, so he’s only one for two.

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  22. Michael says:

    @Rick DeMent: I would have thought that it was an “Orphan Black” Easter egg.

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  23. SC_Birdflyte says:

    It hardly matters whether it was positive or negative. DT obviously never heard the customer service maxim, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

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  24. winfieldscott says:

    The most cringe-worthy and egregious episode

    I’m glad to see a professor at a military college calling this out for what it is.
    The off-the-cuff remark insinuating that Owen Ryan’s spirit would be thrilled by the length of the ovation, as he himself would be were the applause directed at him, is just so disgusting.

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  25. Surreal American says:

    @Pch101:

    Baby steps, Pch101,

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  26. Pch101 says:

    @Jen:

    Mandating access simply means that if you have a condition, any at all, you can be charged whatever the insurance companies want to charge you. If it equals your monthly salary and you can’t afford it? Not their problem, they’ve provided “access.” Their end of the bargain is fulfilled.

    That’s one alternative. Another approach would be to have high-risk pools that cover items that aren’t related to ones condition, but exclude or mostly exclude coverage of anything that may be associated with that chronic problem. So for example, a diabetic might be able to get a policy that covers costs that are attributable to a car accident or slip-and-fall or a piano falling on ones head and it might even share some of the routine costs associated with the diabetes, but it won’t pay much or anything for any decline in health that could be linked to the diabetes.

    I suspect that this approach will be taken, combined with low caps. So theoretically, you would be able to buy a policy and might even be able to afford it, but it won’t actually do you much good if you have a serious problem because your insurer will have plenty of excuses to weasel out of coverage for anything that goes beyond the basics. It would be something closer to injury and minor maintenance coverage than comprehensive health coverage.

    Car dealers know that customers can be scammed by using the monthly payment to distract them from taking a big picture view of what they are buying. Trump is a scammer himself, so he understands how to play to that: We will be given great news about the lower cost of monthly premiums for some people, but we will not be told by the administration that those policyholders are getting less for their money. Get ready for the apples-and-rotten-oranges comparisons.

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  27. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump on teleprompters…

    Look what happened with Obama, where he’s a teleprompter guy. No, it’s true. … you don’t want a scripted president.

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  28. Scott says:

    Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across State lines — creating a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care

    Another untested concept that will fail. How can there be a national marketplace regulated by Mississippi? They are saying there will be 50 individual state marketplaces. Let’s introduce even more inefficiency to the health care system. I want my Texas congressmen to tell me why they think Texans should have their health insurance regulated by North Dakota? And at the same time, demand that Washington leave regulation to the states? Does not compute.

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  29. James Pearce says:

    Re: teleprompters

    Criticizing any public speaker for using a teleprompter is, and always way, is so stupid it should be spelled stooooopid and spoken with a long drawn out O.

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  30. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Scott:

    How can there be a national marketplace regulated by Mississippi?

    This will simply be a race to the bottom. Why do you think all the credit card companies are in Delaware? They had the laxest regulations. Dodd-Frank fixed a lot of the problems with credit cards…but now that is being undone so consumers will lose all those protections and the CC companies will once again be free to take advantage of consumers. Apparently poor white people think that is a good thing. The same thing will happen with insurance. They will all claim to be based out of say, Mississippi or wherever, and they will operate with the least amount of regulation possible. You’ll be able to buy coverage…but like before Obamacare…it won’t actually cover anything. But again…these facts don’t matter. The only thing that matters is how the redneck base FEELS.

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  31. Gromitt Gunn says:

    The worst part of the health coverage portion is the mention of buying insurance across state lines. Unlike the rest of the financial services industry, insurance does not have a federal regulator, so each state is responsible for maintaining the integrity of their insurance markets. This was a decision made in, if I recall correctly, the 1920s, when Congress chose to take a hard pass on setting up federal regulation.

    When I was working as a financial analyst at TDI, the various State commissions were constantly challenged to keep up with the industry as a whole. The one thing keeping the whole thing manageable is that each state is able to decide who to license. TDI has dozens of analysts and dozens of examiners. Same for CA, IL, NY, etc. South Dakota does not.

    The whole idea that Met Life could re-domicile to Wyoming, buy a favorable legislative and regulatory environment, and then start marketing policies nationwide that the other states have no mechanism to review and approve should be chilling to anyone who isn’t a shareholder.

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  32. Scott says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: @Gromitt Gunn: Also, the regulations being written preclude the health insurance customers to have no recourse, in the case of fraud or malfeasance, etc., to go anywhere except the state of origin to file complaints, sue, etc. Your home state’s insurance commissioner or other regulatory authority will have their hands tied and will not help you.

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  33. SenyorDave says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: When I was working as a financial analyst at TDI, the various State commissions were constantly challenged to keep up with the industry as a whole. The one thing keeping the whole thing manageable is that each state is able to decide who to license. TDI has dozens of analysts and dozens of examiners. Same for CA, IL, NY, etc. South Dakota does not.

    Great point. I worked as a Property/Casualty actuary for a while for a large insurer. We wrote in all 50 states. We would have to file for rate increases, and it was a running joke to see ho little we need for justification in some states. Most larger states would have requirements that you account for the basics in your rate filings, but some smaller states would rubber stamp anything you asked for.

    Selling insurance across state lines will be a race to the bottom.

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  34. S. Fields says:

    @Tyrell:

    I am seeing and hearing a lot of positive comments about the speech out on the street. The morning radio had statements like:

    Word to the wise: Morning radio =/= “the street”

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  35. Dumb Brit says:

    And hardly mentioned by any of the commentators was the startling announcement of the abdication of the Leader of the Free World

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  36. S. Fields says:

    @Moosebreath:

    the soft bigotry of low expectations strikes again

    The pattern is clearly emerging.

    a) Trump plumbs new depths of crassness and mendacity. It is so frequent as to become the norm and expected.
    b) Trump finds a public moment to demonstrate a modicum of adult behavior and tells some half truths. The punditry applauds this unexpected development and welcomes the Donald’s pivot to presidential behavior. Wavering Trumpkins are reassured.
    c) Trump plumps even deeper into crassness and mendacity. The norm is reset lower still again and again.

    Before the end of the year, I suspect Trump will catch himself before publicly urinating on the Washington Monument and Trump’s fans will be out there cheering his noble restraint.

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  37. winfieldscott says:

    @winfieldscott:
    And more evidence that military people see the truth that media people miss entirely.
    https://twitter.com/BFriedmanDC/status/836987065145389056

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  38. Argon says:

    Another thought. Why can’t I administer my own HSA?

    I simply declare the amount I wish to save each month and at the end of the year, I fill out IRS forms indicating how much of the balance I’ve used and include receipts for HSA-compatible purchases. Based on my initial savings decision, the IRS calculates spending and savings differences and adjusts my tax bill.

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  39. David M says:

    Pretending to be President is Donald Trump’s current gig, and if he’s willing to read a speech off a teleprompter every so often, the media won’t stop fluffing him anytime soon.

    It doesn’t change the fact he’s in over his head, and doesn’t have the ability to comprehend what the job actually entails, or the willingness to put in the work the job requires.

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  40. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Looking out for the average citizen…

    A new Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis found that President Trump’s early policy actions set the middle class on a path to lose nearly $189.5 billion over the next decade or, on average, $1,331 per middle-class household. Meanwhile, these same policies will provide Wall Street and Big Industry $106 billion over the same period.

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  41. teve tory says:

    Cartoon about Trumpers

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  42. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    Criticizing any public speaker for using a teleprompter is, and always way, is so stupid it should be spelled stooooopid and spoken with a long drawn out O.

    True. But it’s equally stupid to praise a politician for the simple act of delivering a speech they didn’t write (which is the case with most political speeches, although most pols contribute a lot of ideas to their speeches). It was a mistake pundits made after Sarah Palin’s convention speech in 2008, and because of that, they were caught off guard a couple of weeks later after her epic meltdown during the Katie Couric interviews, not realizing that the ability to read lines off a teleprompter does not necessarily indicate an ability speak coherently about political or policy questions off the cuff.

    Now, it’s almost like the situation has reversed itself: we’ve essentially been getting Couric-Palin all the time for the last two years, so that any time Trump delivers anything remotely structured and disciplined, people think it’s occasion for praise. “He didn’t spit up in his mouth! Genius!”

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  43. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    And the Kaiser Foundation shows how the GOP plan to “fix” Obamacare helps the rich and hurts the poor and the elderly
    http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/how-affordable-care-act-repeal-and-replace-plans-might-shift-health-insurance-tax-credits/
    Caution…there are a lot of facts at that link…trumpkins will want to avoid it.

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  44. Gavrilo says:

    The Democrats put Khizr Khan on stage to give a blatantly political speech that directly attacked the political opposition and it was called “powerful” and “poignant” and “the highlight of the convention.” Donald Trump recognized a widow at an official Presidential address to Congress and it’s “shameful” and “exploitative” and “cheap political point scoring.”

    Got it!

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  45. Guarneri says:

    Trump 1. All you zombies, zero.

    Back to your “the sky is falling” whacking off.

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  46. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    “He didn’t spit up in his mouth! Genius!”

    Yeah, that highlights another idea I’ve been pondering since Nov 8th: that this idea that the media is going to help protect us from Trump –sunshine being the best antiseptic and all that– is patently false. (Hence my “glad I subscribed to the Times” crack.)

    Donald Trump is president because of his ability to manipulate the media, not in spite of it.

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  47. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod: Also meant to include this quote from Brian Beutler:

    a political press corps (not the investigators slowly piecing together the unseemly details of Trump’s foreign entanglements, but the ones who cover day-to-day news and theater) that is outmatched and completely maladapted for the challenge he poses to it.

    Me….I’d even say the investigators are outmatched and maladapted.

    Beutler’s conclusion pulls no punches:

    All he did was demonstrate once again that his supposed antagonists in the political media have short memories, which makes them easy marks for a tired con.

    (I have to say….I love that phrase “supposed antagonists.” I wish I had heard it weeks ago, or at least during the big protest debate.)

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  48. Matt says:

    @Eric Florack: The very first fact check points out that the increase was 10%. Since crime has been on a decline for many decades now even a 10% increase is going to count as the largest increase in half a century.

    Murders in 2015 = 15,696

    Murders in 1991 = 24,703

    Source = FBI crime database https://ucr.fbi.gov/

    Even with that 10% increase from 2014 to 2015 murder is down 64% over the last couple decades….

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  49. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @Jen:

    And Health Savings Accounts… [are] a tax shelter for people who already have scads of money.

    That feature was emphasized by Clark Howard recently when he said to one of his callers that the real advantages to HSAs happen for people who can afford to pay cash for their health care needs. I think he said something to the effect of “that’s when you can really start to pile up some serious money for investing.”

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  50. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @Tyrell:

    I have not had a lot of time to sift through, comb, analyze, and examine this speech.

    That’s so cute.

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  51. JohnMcC says:

    @Gavrilo: @winfieldscott: Dear, dear Gavrilo – has this former American Gen’l from the heartland got something for you to read!

    And Gen’l Scott – that was great. Many thanks for the link.

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  52. JohnMcC says:

    Had to give a shout-out to a lengthy piece in theatlantic-dot-com by the excellent James Fallows. He tries to imagine hearing the Presidential speech last night as if he’d never heard from Pres Trump previous to last night. His conclusions are the same as Dr Joyner’s but with considerable more depth on the policies (such as they are) and rhetoric.

    His thoughts on the calling out of Ms Ryan reinforces what has been said here.

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  53. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @Argon:

    Why can’t I administer my own HSA?

    If you administer your own HSA, how is the bank going to charge you an administration fee? Understand, I think your idea would work just fine, but we have to keep these things in perspective in a nation of the money, by the money, and for the money.

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  54. Eric Florack says:

    @al-Alameda: then why weren’t the left this critical when Obama did it? That’s a two-way street you know

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  55. Eric Florack says:

    @Matt: and whose watch was at the last decade?

    And did you actually read the New York Times article? When the times even admits that Trump got everything right….

    It’s amazing to watch the leftist echo chamber that this place has become and more than a little sad

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  56. Pch101 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    When the times even admits that Trump got everything right

    Thanks for clarifying the reasons why you are on the hard right: Apparently, you’re illiterate.

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  57. al-Alameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    @al-Alameda: then why weren’t the left this critical when Obama did it? That’s a two-way street you know

    I’m not critical, I’m just wondering why the Right isn’t upset about this?

    Also, I wasn’t one of the conservative moron-crap-for-brains who questioned Obama’s ability and intelligence because he used a teleprompter.

    Trump, on the other hand, did point to use of a teleprompter as evidence of deficiency:

    “I’ve always said, if you run for president, you shouldn’t be allowed to use teleprompters,” he said to applause during a rally back in October in Georgia. “Because you don’t even know if the guy’s smart.”

    Garbage in, garbage out, garbage in the Oval Office.

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  58. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Argon:

    Another thought. Why can’t I administer my own HSA?

    I simply declare the amount I wish to save each month and at the end of the year, I fill out IRS forms indicating how much of the balance I’ve used and include receipts for HSA-compatible purchases. Based on my initial savings decision, the IRS calculates spending and savings differences and adjusts my tax bill.

    First, let me say, I like an HSA. A previous employer had that as an option with the High Deductible coverage. I also liked that it could roll from year to year.

    However, I will admit, I am easily in the to 5% of earners, so I can afford to put “extra” $$$ into an HSA. (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/income-rank/ ).

    However, I know that an HSA can’t be my only heath insurance, as it exposes me to huge risk.. It can pay for that big deductible, and if I choose some of my heath spending per year.

    However, Argon, let’s look at what you suggest:

    Let’s hope that you are a big earner as well, and have the dedication to set aside 15K per year for 15 years, resulting in a savings of $225K. And let’s say that Medicare and Medicade has been eliminated, which could happen.

    Let’s say you get a cardiac blockage. No, I am not wishing it on you, but if that were to happen, treatment could easily cost $100K.

    Now, how about a liver issue, taking another $100K. God forbid that we talk cancer as long term treatment could be $200K

    Getting older, what’s next? Hip replacement, Knee?

    When you run out of personally saved HSA funds… does treatment stop?

    Do we set you out at the curb, or do we refer you to an optional death panel?

    Now, let’s consider the working poor. Will they have an “extra” 15K to put aside per year?

    Do we turn immediately to euthanasia? That was a solution that was suggested in the last century, as that would eliminate the drain on the state by the non-productive non-contributing members.

    Trump: “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated”

    Actually, thinking people know it’s VERY Complicated.

    Since POTUS Trump has promised better care at a lower price, we may never actually see the ACA repealed.

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  59. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Gavrilo:
    Gavrilo says: Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 14:40
    Gary Johnson doesn’t know what “Aleppo” is.
    Jill Stein doesn’t know the difference between Cincinnati and Columbus
    Hillary Clinton doesn’t know that emails marked with a “(C)” means Confidential.
    Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about anything.
    We’re fwcked.

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  60. M. Bouffant says:

    I’m curious why he didn’t start the speech w/ his prior suggestion that maybe it was Jewish people knocking over tombstones in Jewish cemeteries & making bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers.

    In other words, the opening passage was a complete lie, except for this kind of stuff, which is just meaningless blather: “All the nations of the world — friend or foe — will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free.”

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  61. michael reynolds says:

    “Access” to health care means rich people get treated and poor people die. That’s it. Breaking News: rich people always have access to health care, what Republicans mean is that rich people can write off their treatment while again, poor people die.

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  62. Mr. Bluster says:

    From the Pudster’s Prompter:
    …we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.

    Exclusive: Trump administration has found only $20 million in existing funds for wall – document
    The rapid start of construction, promised throughout Trump’s campaign and in an executive order issued in January on border security, was to be financed, according to the White House, with “existing funds and resources” of the Department of Homeland Security.

    But so far, the DHS has identified only $20 million that can be re-directed to the multi-billion-dollar project, according to a document prepared by the agency and distributed to congressional budget staff last week.

    The document said the funds would be enough to cover a handful of contracts for wall prototypes, but not enough to begin construction of an actual barrier. This means that for the wall to move forward, the White House will need to convince Congress to appropriate funds.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-funds-idUSKBN1685SY?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FtopNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Top+News%29

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  63. Davebo says:

    The same eyes, the same lips, the same lie
    From your tongue trips
    Deep dark, deep dark truthful mirror

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  64. Mikey says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    But again…these facts don’t matter. The only thing that matters is how the redneck base FEELS.

    The same is true of their apparent craving for the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Despite the fact using that phrase offends our allies and helps recruit terrorists, they insist it must be spoken to indicate the President “take the threat seriously.”

    The actual negative effects are irrelevant because they FEEL like Trump is being “tough.”

    Seriously, I think they are emotionally stuck on a grade school playground.

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  65. Mikey says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    First, let me say, I like an HSA. A previous employer had that as an option with the High Deductible coverage. I also liked that it could roll from year to year.

    However, I will admit, I am easily in the to 5% of earners, so I can afford to put “extra” $$$ into an HSA

    Same here. It was fine when I had it, I could afford to sock away enough to cover my family deductible which was $4K/annually. So I got to pay for my family’s health care with non-taxed money. Sweet deal…if you can afford it.

    But what about the people who make half what I do? $4K may be easy for me to save, but for them it’s a huge bite. So they end up paying out of pocket or just skip care altogether, which of course is what health care coverage is supposed to enable people to avoid.

    Meanwhile literally every other advanced economy on Earth has some form of true universal coverage, free or almost free at point of service. They get comparable care at half the per-capita cost.

    And so many Americans blather on about how we have “the best health care in the world.” Bullshit. We have average care at double the cost.

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  66. Tyrell says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: The head of Aetna says that the Obamacare is collapsing. Others say that it is going to end up repealing itself.
    All of the companies have pulled out of most of the states except for United Health Care. The system is losing too much money.

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  67. Mr. Bluster says:

    More red meat for the trogs:
    “As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised.”

    Friends, family rally behind West Frankfort restaurant manager detained by ICE
    Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, 38, from Mexico, was arrested at his home in West Frankfort on Feb. 9 and has since been held in the Montgomery County Jail, which is also an ICE detention facility about an hour west of St. Louis. He is being held over questions about his legal status in the U.S., as confirmed on Friday by an ICE official in an emailed response to The Southern Illinoisan.
    http://thesouthern.com/news/local/friends-family-rally-behind-west-frankfort-restaurant-manager-detained-by/article_d25f994c-4fb5-572c-9710-48e50ffb24c2.html

    West Frankfort man detained by ICE granted bond, expected to be released today
    KANSAS CITY — Juan Carlos Hernandez Pachco, the West Frankfort business man detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in February, was granted bond Wednesday during a hearing in a Kansas City, Missouri, immigration court.
    http://thesouthern.com/news/local/communities/westfrankfort

    I have spent a lot of time in West Frankfort over the past 35 years. It is one of the many telephone exchanges I worked in my career.
    Believe me it is hardly an enclave of bleeding heart liberals.
    Maybe President Pud will visit this dusty old coal mining town and get some good Mexican food at the La Fiesta.
    While he’s there he can explain to Sr. Pacheco why he was ripped from his family and his job even though he is clearly NOT a gang member or drug dealer.

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  68. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Let’s say you get a cardiac blockage. No, I am not wishing it on you, but if that were to happen, treatment could easily cost $100K.

    Since I went through this last summer, I’ve a good idea on the cost. Ambulance ride through cardio rehab, just about $225K. And I’m in Cow Hampshire, not the most expensive venue for medical care. Fortunately my employer provided health insurance is very good and picked up most of the cost. Co-pays and deductibles still added up to about $6000.

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  69. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Hence the Trumpistas defending their Dear Leader, even though it means their doom.

    The Serf “Oath of Fealty” from the 7th century:

    I will to my lord be true and faithful, and love all that he loves, and shun all that he shuns…

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  70. Terrye Cravens says:

    People like Tyrell are just happy that Trump wore pants to the speech and did not start raving like a loon. Apparently Ivanka got him back on his meds and told him to go read the damn speech and watch his mouth.

    Questions about Trump’s mental health were no doubt beginning to worry his people. They told him he had to act like a grown up. But he is still the same ass he was before the speech.

    We shall see if there is any change after this, but any guy who would use a grieving widow for a prop is not someone who is capable of real change. He is what he is.

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  71. teve tory says:

    OT: Sessions lied to the Senate about contact with russians during the campaign.

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  72. Mr. Bluster says:

    test

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  73. john430 says:

    ” the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL was used to score political points.”

    Oh, you mean like how Hillary blatantly used the Khan family at the Democrat convention?

    Cheap shot, Joyner.

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  74. Mr. Bluster says:

    @teve tory:..OT:..?

    Can’t see how a story about President Pud’s lying Attorney General and how he lied in confirmation hearings could possibly be Off Topic in a thread about our
    Lame Ass Liar in Chief.
    (god bless America)

    Lindsey Graham says Sessions should recuse himself from Trump-Russia investigation
    Why Is Lindsay Graham talking like there will be an investigation? Is he getting ready to throw Sessions under the bus to cover his own ass?
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/graham-sessions-trump-russia-235597
    Or is this all a diversion so no one pays attention to what that prick
    “It’s going to get worse every day for the media” Bannon is up to?
    Stay tuned…

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  75. Mr. Bluster says:

    Draft dodging Repudlican Candidate for President USA openly mocking a Gold Star mother because she is Muslim.
    Always a class act.
    “If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” he said, “She had nothing to say… Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-36935175

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  76. Mr. Bluster says:

    GooberGate Begins!

    The U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee will investigate allegations of collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, the top Democrat on the panel said on Wednesday.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-congress-idUSKBN169037

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  77. Ben Wolf says:

    @Dr. Joyner,

    With respect, you appear to have missed both the theme and rhetorical devices encapsulated in the speech. Trump was appealing to creation of a new political coalition and making statements erosive of the status quo consensus, yet you addressed none of these things in your post.

    This presents challenges to both the Democrats and Republican orthodoxy in the mid-terms and I don’t think they yet realize it.

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  78. al-Alameda says:

    @john430:

    ” the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL was used to score political points.”
    Oh, you mean like how Hillary blatantly used the Khan family at the Democrat convention?

    Two pretty damned obvious points (unless you’re a Trump supporter):
    (1) You do realize that Trump went on the record a few days ago as blaming the generals for the death of that Navy Seal. Which is to say that as Commander-In-Chief he acted to absolve himself of any responsibility even though he apparently green-lighted the Yemen Operation.

    (2) You really do not see the difference between Hillary featuring the Khan family at the Democratic Convention after Trump mocked the Khan family during his campaign?

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  79. john430 says:

    @al-Alameda: I see the delusional, grieving father note that terror has nothing to do with Islam. If you believe that then I have a bridge that I want to sell you.

    Trump may have greenlighted the operation but the plan was in place much before he took office.

    Also- In 2016 daddy Khan worked for a pro-Saudi lobbying group and is on record as favoring sharia law.

    So, no. I don’t see how Hillary’s using the family of a fallen soldier to score points was proper. I see a hypocritical parent using his son’s death to embarrass America.
    Rumors persist to this day that the DNC paid money for his appearance and speech.

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  80. Kylopod says:

    @john430:

    In 2016 daddy Khan worked for a pro-Saudi lobbying group

    Debunked right-wing smear:

    “The first and and most glaringly obvious problem with this narrative is that Khizr Khan didn’t ever work for the Hogan Lovells law firm. He was employed for seven years (from 2000-07) at the Washington, D.C., office of Hogan & Hartson, a U.S.-based firm that — three years after Khan left their employ — merged with the London-based international law firm Lovells to form Hogan Lovells in 2010. And Lovells (where Khan never worked) had an office in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.”

    and is on record as favoring sharia law.

    In short, he’s a Muslim.

    In other news, George W. Bush is on record accepting Christ as his personal savior. Your point…?

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  81. Mikey says:

    @john430:

    Trump may have greenlighted the operation but the plan was in place much before he took office.

    This is complete fvcking bullshit. The CINC bears ultimate responsibility for an operation he authorized. Period. “The plan was in place before he took office” is a dodge. Period. He didn’t give it proper consideration before he signed off on it and it was a disaster. That. Is. On. HIM.

    You Trumpists are ridiculous with the level of sycophantic excuse-making and transparently ridiculous rationales you have for every one of this utter ignoramus’s fvck-ups. Unbelievable.

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  82. john430 says:

    Well then, perhaps you prefer the Jimmy Carter plan that resulted in eight dead GI’s when he aborted the Iran hostage rescue. Or perhaps you prefer the President Clinton plan where you have Osama bin Laden in your sights and then let him walk away?

    You Trumpists Dumbocrats are ridiculous with the level of sycophantic excuse-making and transparently ridiculous rationales you have for every one of this utter ignoramus’s fvck-ups. Unbelievable.

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  83. teve tory says:

    You Trumpists are ridiculous with the level of sycophantic excuse-making and transparently ridiculous rationales you have for every one of this utter ignoramus’s fvck-ups. Unbelievable.

    “We’ve got to stop being the Party of Stupid” -Bobby Jindal, 2013, to no avail.

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  84. al-Alameda says:

    @john430:

    Well then, perhaps you prefer the Jimmy Carter plan that resulted in eight dead GI’s when he aborted the Iran hostage rescue.

    So, am I to understand that although Trump, as Commander-In-Chief, gave the go-ahead he bears no responsibility for the result of the mission?

    Did you apply the same standard to President Carter, and the subsequent failure of the Iranian mission he authorized? Finally, did President Carter blame the generals for the failure of the mission/plan?

    You should stop before you get fitted for a pine box.

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  85. teve tory says:

    President JIMMY CARTER: It was my decision to attempt the rescue operation. It was my decision to cancel it when problems developed in the placement of our rescue team for a future rescue operation. The responsibility is fully my own.

    Jimmy Carter, 4/25/1980

    “This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something that was, you know, just they wanted to do. They came to see me. They explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected,” he said. “My generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades I believe. And they lost Ryan.”

    Donald Trump, 2/27/2017

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  86. teve tory says:

    BTW, he hasn’t appointed any generals in the military–all the ones currently there, were promoted by Bush and Obama. So he’s saying Bush and Obama picked the most respected generals we’ve had in decades.

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  87. al-Alameda says:

    @teve tory:

    “This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something that was, you know, just they wanted to do. They came to see me. They explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected,” he said. “ My generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades I believe. And they lost Ryan.”

    Donald Trump, 2/27/2017

    Republicans and conservatives talk a lot about personal responsibility and accountability. Talk.

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  88. Mikey says:

    @john430: You’re bringing up Eagle Claw? That was almost 40 years ago. And Carter took full responsibility for it, he didn’t pull out the Mark 1 Blamethrower as Trump did.

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  89. Mikey says:

    @teve tory: Carter: “my decision…my decision…responsibility is fully my own.”

    Trump: “…started before I got here…just they wanted to do…what they wanted to do…they lost Ryan.”

    It would be difficult indeed to find a starker contrast between a man who was Presidential and a man-child who is not.

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  90. What’s up, all the time i used to check blog posts here in the early hours in the break of day, since i like to gain knowledge of more and more.
    http://financehint.eu

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