Trump may go all Lewinsky on Hillary in the next debate

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin attend a news conference in New York July 23, 2013. Weiner, with Abedin by his side, said he is staying in the race after confirming on Tuesday that some newly revealed sexually explicit online chats and photos, published this week by a gossip website, were sent by him. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA ELECTIONS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX11WM7

There are few people unaware of the fact that Bill Clinton has a past when it come to stepping out. There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton has told a few lies over the decades in order to minimize the political damage to her husband caused by said philandering. One could argue that she did not know the affairs had actually happened when she lashed out at the accusers, but that is hardly a credible assertion.  It’s never been a great situation.

Today, The Washington Post reports that “Donald Trump and his surrogates have signalled that he may bring up the subject in the next presidential debate.”

The same story cites a 2000 interview with Hillary Clinton when she was running for a New York Senate seat in New York in which she was “asked whether she mislead the public in defending her husband.”

“It is something that I deeply regret that anyone had to go through,” she said. “And I wish that we could all look at it from the perspective of history, but we can’t.”

For that and similar statements Trump has called her an enabler.

If he does bring it up in the debates, my guess is that she will repeat what she said in her convention speech, which is that she and Bill have had many challenges in their marriage but have chosen to work them out and stay together.

It will make her an object of sympathy and remind people that Trump is in no position to criticize. In other words, he would be a fool to go there, but he is after all a fool.

What we know about Trump is that he always thinks he can make his case no matter how incoherent. He did it on his taxes in Monday’s debate and on his defence of birtherism.  He’ll do it again on the issue of Bill’s infidelity with the same result because that is what defines the man. He thinks he can successfully litigate every issue even when his advisors would probably rather he move on.

I can perfectly visualize the exchange including her picture perfect presentation and his goofy facial expressions. She wins. He loses.

The only thing the electorate will see is a bully blaming a woman for the fact that her husband had been unfaithful.

Whatever else may be true, it is better for Hillary and her supporters that he talk about anything other than economic nationalism and a general taste for change. That is his winning hand and he is too stupid, thin skinned, and undisciplined to make it work for him.

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When is a poll not a poll?

polls2I suspect many people were confused after Monday’s presidential debate to discover that several “on-line” polls found Donald Trump to be the winner by an overwhelming margin. It turns out that the  polls which support this claim are really just for the purposes of entertainment and have no credibility in the world of legitimate scientific polling.

One news executive, at Fox no less, cautioned staff and producers in a memo that such polls “do not meet our editorial standards.”

Dana Blanton, the vice-president of public opinion research at Fox News, explained in the memo … that “on-line polls like the ones in Drudge, Time, etc., where people can opt in or self-select … are really just for fun.”

He continued,

“As most of the publications themselves clearly state, the sample obviously can’t be representative of the electorate because they only reflect the views of those Internet users who have chosen to participate.

That didn’t stop various Fox personalities like Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade from citing them, but they were citing nonsense, as is most usually the case at Fox. In fact, polls conducted in a manner consistent with scientific methodology found that Clinton beat Trump, and rather badly.

I wouldn’t want to go as far as to say that even Fox News is getting nervous about the lies habitually told on their network, but it seems something moved them to express concern.

Unfortunately once these claims, based on nothing, are made public, they are believed by those who need to believe them, and nothing can put the genie back in the bottle.

No one reads a retraction, not that Hannity, et. al., are offering one.

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This Day in American History: September 28, 1781 – The Battle of Yorktown Begins

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Time to get serious…

Because she'll do a good job.

Because she’ll do a good job.

It would be silly for those supporting Hillary Clinton to deny they are mightily relieved today. No, we don’t think it’s over, but we are feeling a great deal more bullish about a positive outcome than we were before last night’s debate.

I think Hillary Clinton will see a bump in polling results in the next few days because the debates, her solid performance and his buffoonery, signalled to those who insist they are undecided or considering a third-party candidate that it is time to step up and confront reality.

Trump is an ass and a danger to the country, and perhaps to the stability of geo-political relations.

There is much work that needs to be done. His 42 percent or so ceiling is baked in, as is her floor at the same approximate level. Now the 6 to 8 percent that need and want to be wooed by HRC should and,  I would suggest, will start to come around.

The margin between these two is defined by those who don’t like her but are terrified of him. They have so far inconsistently declared their intentions for her  in various polls but that debate and those to follow make the choice clear and, put a different way, these folks need to get over themselves.

Not decided yet, but we can see it from here.

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On the Hustings

imageBloomberg Politics: Clinton excels in debate by laying trap on Trump’s temperament

Washington Post: Trump says he’ll “hit her harder” in next debate 

Politico: Trump points fingers after shaky debate

New York Times: The morning after the debate, Trump goes on the attack

MSNBC: Accused Bridgegate mastermind: Christie knew

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Is it time to start panicking?

imageThis morning Steve Benen at MaddowBlog cited three new polls that have the presidential race within the margin of error. Even Nate Silver’s probability model at fivethirtyeight put the election as essentially even.

Still, I remain reasonably confident that Secretary Clinton will prevail based upon Trump’s ceiling vs. hers, i.e., the number of voters who could conceivably vote for Mrs. Clinton vs. Mr. Trump.

Last week respected elections prognosticator Stu Rothenberg said this:

Democrats have more reason to be concerned today than they did five weeks ago. But while the polls have closed, the larger fundamentals still favour Clinton. At this point she had a much greater opportunity to grow than he does.

Interestingly, Rothenberger was writing as the polls tightened several days ago before Clinton took a small lead which she then lost in today’s polls, but the point is the same.

The truth is the truth, though, no matter what some may say, and Benen gets the last word.

On the day of the first debate . . .  the presidential race is effectively a dead heat. For all the easy assumptions — so many have argued, “The United States just isn’t the kind of country that would elect a racist television personality to be president” — there’s no denying the unavoidable fact that Donald J. Trump has a decent chance of winning the 2016 election.

So true, and painful to consider.

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This Day in American History: September 26, 1789 – Thomas Jefferson is appointed the first U.S. Sectretary of State

imageThomas Jefferson is appointed the first United States Secretary of State, John Jay is appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States, Samuel Osgood is appointed the first United States Postmaster General, and Edmund Randolph is appointed the first United States Attorney General.

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On the Hustings

hillNew York Times: Hillary Clinton for President

Washington PostTrump’s week reveals bleak view, dubious statements in ‘alternative universe’

PoliticoTrump responds to Cuban: I’ll put Gennifer Flowers in front row at debate

Los Angeles TimesClinton is cramming, Trump is riffing: Here’s how the nominees are preparing for their last big chance to sway voters

Fox NewsNetanyahu to meet with Trump and Clinton

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The History of America in Song and Story

imageWorking as I do in the general vicinity of the University of Toronto is a special treat this time year as the various colleges that make up the school hold their annual alumni book sales. There are several of them and the loot for book lovers is quite amazing.

In addition to a few classics about the Civil War, I found a fascinating volume called The American Ballad: The History of the United States in Song and Story, by John Anthony Scott.

It contains words and music to around 125 songs with text which explains the context of each. It starts with the Colonial Period and comes up to the present, which for this volume is 1966.

The inside cover indicates that the book “shows how the story of the American people is revealed in their songs.” Okay.

I’m looking forward to digging in and learning songs like “Young Ladies in Town” (Revolutionary War period) and “The Wisconsin Immigrant” (Westward Movement).

I see you can order the book on Amazon. Great find.

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The Pundits

Not these guys

Paul Krugman: “Vote as if it matters”

Jon Chait: “How the Republican war on Obamacare explains Trump”

Steve Benen: “Team Trump struggles to defend latest foundation revelations”

Matthew Yglesias: “Republican senators outraged by Wells Fargo’s fraud want to eliminate the agency that uncovered it”

Eugene Washington: “A vote for Trump is a vote for climate catastrophe”

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