Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Scared Straight

Media attention starts turning to the first presidential debate on Monday, as it confronts the knowledge that one of the two candidates is the most profoundly ignorant, deeply racist, psychologically infantile and irredeemably dishonest person to ever stand on such a stage.

The latest revelation of Trump's business chicanery comes from the Washington Post report on the money he took from his charitable trust to deal with law suits against his businesses.  This and your Trump campaign outrages for Tuesday are summed up in this Guardian piece.

Two pieces caught my eye that struggle with characterizing just how profound is Trump's disregard for the truth and his pathological lying.  Richard Cohen in the Washington Post goes into some detail in an increasingly meaningful historical comparison:  he compares Trump to Hitler.

"I realize that the name Hitler has the distractive quality of pornography and so I cite it only with reluctance. Hitler, however, was not a fictional creation but a real man who was legally chosen to be Germany’s chancellor, and while Trump is neither an anti-Semite nor does he have designs on neighboring countries, he is Hitlerian in his thinking. He thinks the truth is what he says it is."

It is the reality of Hitler as well as the aptness of the comparison that Cohen emphasizes:

Germany was not some weird place. At the advent of the Hitler era, it was a democracy, an advanced nation, culturally rich and scientifically advanced. It had a unique history — its defeat in World War I, the hyperinflation of the 1920s — so it cannot easily be likened to the contemporary United States. But it was not all that different, either. In 1933, it chose a sociopathic liar as its leader. If the polls are to be believed, we may do the same."

For Roger Simon at Politico--as for other media examples he cites--Trump's attempted pirouette on his racist birther crusade was the bridge too far:

"That Trump lies on a regular and dismal basis is no longer a question. It is a fact.  For months and months, the national press corps has been tiptoeing around this. But now it has stopped clutching its pearls and has decided to call the truth the truth and a falsehood a falsehood."

For those who prefer their Trump birther analysis with a comedic flair, there's the choice of Colbert or Seth Myers.  There may be more choices to come.      

Is Trump profiting politically by his most recent lies?  Maybe.  But there are indications, Josh Marshall observes, that Clinton's fall in the polls is being reversed.  He cites especially Florida and PA polls that show a Clinton rebound in the past several days.

And then an NBC national tracking poll of likely voters showed a distinct Clinton lead.  The story notes that early and absentee voting is beginning in some states.

Veteran political observer Jeff Greenfield suggests that the poll scare of September may redound to Hillary's benefit by re-motivating voters to make sure the catastrophe of Trump doesn't happen, by taking whatever pains are necessary to really really vote.

Other good news for Hillary: the Obamas are coming!  According to Bloomberg: Barack Obama is about to launch a presidential campaign blitz for Hillary Clinton unprecedented in the modern era, pledging a dramatic commitment of time and resources to a contest he now unabashedly frames as a referendum on his personal and political prestige.

Both President and Michelle Obama will make TV and radio ads in addition to speeches and interviews.

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