Republicans: Stop trying to disown Trump

“Donald Trump — as he’s prone to do — he didn’t build the building by himself, but he slapped his name on it and took credit for it.”derp-trump

That was President Obama last week, rightly pointing out that the GOP can pretend that Trump does not share their positions and that he is not really one of them, but the fact is that they built that Building of Deplorables that allowed Trump to move in and declare himself their king.

“The problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does,” Obama said. “The problem is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience.”

It’s not like the warning signs weren’t there. It’s not like there weren’t plenty of us (and even plenty in the GOP) who predicted that this would happen. They could have done more to prevent this, and now it appears they’re going to lose the Presidency as well as the Senate (and maybe even the House).

And it’s their own damn fault.

So when some Republican says that they can’t support Trump and they act all surprised that such a terrible man could have ever grabbed the support of a majority of their members, take it with a grain of salt. The warning signs were there all along, and they just continued to drive off that cliff.

Will 2016 be a repeat of 2008?

In 2007, a year or so before the primaries of 2008 began, this was what people were saying:Bernie-Sanders-and-Obama

  • Hillary is unbeatable
  • America is not ready to elect a black man
  • Obama is too far to the left to ever win the nomination, much less the election
  • Hillary has too many endorsements and too much money for anyone to challenge her successfully

I kind of agreed, even though I supported Obama from the start. And I was pleased to have been proven wrong.

Now here it is, a year or so before the primaries of 2016, and this is what people are saying:

  • Hillary is unbeatable
  • America is not ready to elect a Jewish man
  • Sanders is too far to the left to ever win the nomination, much less the election
  • Hillary has too many endorsements and too much money for anyone to challenge her successfully

I kind of agree.

But boy, would it be great to be proven wrong again.

It’s not always racism

Yesterday, I wrote about how we should not listen to white people when they say it’s not about racism, because they’re not the “experts” who really experience it.

However, we should also beware of going too far in the other direction:  sometimes it really is not about racism.

I have often had discussions like this with my clients:

“That cop is a racist!”

“Why do you say that?”

“He treated me terribly and gave me no respect!”

“I know this particular cop very well.  Trust me, he treats everyone like that.”

Sometimes people are a jerk to you not because of your race, but because they’re jerks.  Or maybe it’s because of your dress or attitude.  A white guy dressed as a thug and acting like a gang member also doesn’t get a ton of respect.resized_mlk1-meme-generator-pew-pew-pew-take-that-racism-e177f6

But there really is racism.  Obama talked about how, when he was a Constitutional Law Professor dressed in a suit, he still couldn’t get a taxi.  Black business leaders find themselves being followed in stores despite looking like professional CEOs in all respects.  The fact that blacks get arrested for drug offenses in bigger numbers than whites despite drug use among whites and blacks being pretty equal is another good sign.  There are plenty of other examples.

All I’m saying is: Racism absolutely exists and it is something people deal with every day.  Just don’t automatically assume every time you’re treated bad it’s because of racism.  I have friends who hate Obama but it’s not because they’re racist.  They hated Clinton too.  They hate all liberal politicians.   If Obama was 100% white, they’d still hate him.

For that matter, I can’t stand Al Sharpton, Clarence Thomas, and Herman Cain, but not because of their race.  (And if you think I supported Obama because of his race, well, you might want to ask if you are the racist, unable to see anything but a candidate’s race to determine why anyone  would vote for him.)

However, if your main criticism of Obama is that he’s a Kenyan Muslim who doesn’t look like a “real American” — well, I think that’s a pretty good sign it isn’t just his politics that have you angry.  And if your protest includes a Confederate flag, you might as well stop pretending.

Whatever Obama does, it will be wrong

If Obama tries to solve the Ukraine situation with diplomacy: He’s weak and ineffectual.

If Obama takes military action: He’s rash and careless with our troops’ lives.

Remember, if you are a Republican, the bottom line is this: No matter what Obama does, it’s always the wrong thing.Obama-Putin

This “Obama is always wrong” attitude must really hurt them, because in their hearts they can’t really believe it, can they?  I recall when bin Laden was killed, and you could see it in their faces.  They wanted so much to cheer and celebrate like the rest of us, but they had to find some fault with Obama.  It was just impossible for them to give him credit.  Then they had to deal with Gaddafi.  Had George W. Bush gotten rid of him, the praises would never end.  But Obama doing it?  It’s terrible.

They are now blaming Obama for the Ukraine/Russia situation because, of course, the world reacts to the United States and never does anything on its own.   In all seriousness, the situation in the Ukraine has nothing to do with Obama.  This protest would have happened no matter who was President, and Putin would have taken action no matter what.  You know that’s true.

But some conservatives are pointing to Sarah Palin and giving her credit (I am not making this up) for predicting that Putin would attack the Ukraine if Obama was President.  Why Putin waited six years until Ukraine rebelled against him with no encouragement or backing from Obama, she hasn’t explained yet.  (Palin also predicted that Obama would invade Pakistan, too.)

The Ukraine uprising is a good thing.  It is a move towards modernization and away from the repressive Russian government.  We should be encouraging this completely.

Ironically, many of the conservatives who are criticizing Putin had just months ago praised him and called him “The Leader of the Free World” for his cracking down on gays.  Seriously, because when you think of “free world” you immediately think of throwing people in jail because you’re a bigot.

So let’s revisit this post in a bit and see if I am correct.  No matter what decision Obama makes, the right will criticize it.  And I predict this as well:  Someone on the right will have said beforehand what they would do in his place — and then when Obama does that, they will back down and claim that it is a bad idea.  Wait and see.

“He only won because he’s black”

Michelle Bachmann said Americans voted for Obama because he was black and they felt guilty. Yep! That’s why I supported Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Carol Mosley-Braun and Herman Cain. s-michele-bachmann-large300

No. Wait. I remember now. I didn’t support any of those people.

Dammit! Why can’t the world be as simple as Michelle Bachmann, where there is black and white and nothing inbetween — where the color of someone’s skin is the determining factor instead of complicated things like their experience, stand on the issues, and education?

But no, that’s just too subtle for her. The fact that the majority of Americans supported a Senator who graduated at the top of his class from both Columbia and Harvard Law, whose positions on the issues most matched theirs, and who belonged to the party that had won more votes in three of the last four Presidential races is completely meaningless to her, because the only thing she sees is the color of Obama’s skin.

Let’s see … there is a word for someone like that, isn’t there?

As if facts mattered…

Next time your conservative friend talks about how much Obama has destroyed the economy, point out:

The Dow was at 7,949 when Obama took office.  It’s now at 16,130.*   1794804_726536620713610_48031525_n Under Obama, the Dow keeps setting new records.

Unemployment was at 7.8%.  It’s now at 6.6%.

GDP growth is harder to quantify.  I am not sure where the image here got its numbers.  From what I can tell, it averaged around negative 3.1 under the last year of Bush and has averaged around 1.7 under Obama.  Not great numbers, but certainly an improvement.  (There was one quarter where it was 4.1% but using the best number and ignoring the others is misleading.)

The fiscal deficit, which is the gap between expenditure and revenue, was at 9.8% of the GDP under Bush, and was 4.9% for last year.

Consumer confidence under Bush was at 40.0% when Obama took over.  It is now at 80.7%.

So anyone who tells you things are going downhill is just plain wrong.

Then again, anyone who tells you were are doing great is also just plain wrong.  Almost all of that economic gain has gone to the 1%.   The rest of us are still floundering, and the middle class is dying.  Unemployment is still too high and wages are still too low.  And the debt keeps rising.

Bottom line:  Obama is not destroying the economy.  You’re thinking of Bush.  However, he has not solved everything either, so Obama supporters who try to sugar coat things are exaggerating.  

Had the Republicans passed a jobs bill, maybe we would be in better shape.  Our infrastructure is falling apart, and we could be hiring millions of people to fix roads and bridges for a fraction of what we give away to the 1% in tax breaks and subsidies they don’t need.   Investing in people as well as our infrastructure is wise and pays off dividends in the long run.  If we had a Republican President, there is no doubt in my mind we would be doing this now. However, the Republicans have repeatedly said that they will stand in the way of anything Obama wants. They don’t want him to claim successes for anything.  The interests of the party outweigh the country’s needs, after all.

That’s the real economic scandal.

* all numbers are as of February 18, 2013, updated from the illustration accompanying this, to the best of my ability. (Some sources were difficult to interpret and I am not an economist.)

“Don’t believe everything on the internet” – Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted another one of those silly internet things meant to make Obama look like an evil Muslim Atheist Socialist bent on destroying America. This one accused him of removing “In God We Trust” off the coins.


To my friend’s credit, when I pointed out that (a) The coins were introduced in 2007 when George W. Bush was President and (b) The coins do have “In God We Trust” on them, he apologized grudgingly.

But the point of this post is not about the coins. We could discuss whether coins even should say “In God We Trust” on them at all. (For those playing at home, the correct answer is “no.”)

The point is that sometimes we are so anxious to believe something, we accept it without even checking to see if it’s true. (For the record, snopes is once again your friend.)

A few days earlier, a left wing blog posted an article which claims they have proof that the George Zimmerman rescue of some people stuck in a car after an accident was not true. The site claimed a police officer sympathetic to Zimmerman called him when the accident happened and told him to show up and pretend to be saving the people. Apparently, he arrived but had little to do with anything, and that’s why the victims of the accident haven’t come forth to thank him or anything.

Is this possible? Is it believable? Sure. It makes more sense to imagine that happening than to assume that he coincidentally just happened to be at the site of the accident only a few weeks after the verdict when he needed to redeem his image among many Americans.

But it’s reported on a site with an agenda; a site that is just as suspect as Fox News should be to everyone else.

When I see this reported on some mainstream, more respectable sites, then I’ll give it some credence, but for now, I am suspicious.

And that’s the lesson for today.

Great quotes from the Nerd Prom

The annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner allows the President to throw some barbs at himself and the press and is a good time to observe a President’s sense of humor first hand. Known jokingly as the “nerd prom” it gets bigger and bigger every year and is starting to look like the Oscars. Sarah Palin complained about it in a tweet today, but I think she was mostly pissed that she didn’t get an invitation.

Obama’s timing keeps getting better over the years and his joke writers are doing an excellent job. He is starting to rank up there with Reagan for having a great sense of humor. (Lincoln is also up there, but we don’t have any video of his performances!)

Conan O’Brien was the guest comedian and he had some great bits, too.

Here’s the video:

And here are some of my favorite jokes from Obama:

Now, look, I get it. These days, I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be. Time passes. You get a little gray.

And yet, even after all this time, I still make rookie mistakes. Like, I’m out in California, we’re at a fundraiser, we’re having a nice time. I happen to mention that Kamala Harris is the best-looking attorney general in the country. As you might imagine, I got trouble when I got back home. Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?

So, yes, maybe I have lost a step. But some things are beyond my control. For example, this whole controversy about Jay-Z going to Cuba — it’s unbelievable. I’ve got 99 problems and now Jay-Z is one. (To Bill O’Reilly) That’s another rap reference, Bill.

I know CNN has taken some knocks lately, but the fact is I admire their commitment to cover all sides of a story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate.

Some of my former advisors have switched over to the dark side. For example, David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.

The History Channel is not here. I guess they were embarrassed about the whole Obama-is-a-devil thing. Of course, that never kept Fox News from showing up. They actually thought the comparison was not fair — to Satan.

But the problem is, is that the media landscape is changing so rapidly. You can’t keep up with it. I mean, I remember when BuzzFeed was just something I did in college around 2:00 a.m.

There are other new players in the media landscape as well, like super PACs. Did you know that Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million of his own money last year on negative ads? You’ve got to really dislike me to spend that kind of money. I mean, that’s Oprah money. You could buy an island and call it “Nobama” for that kind of money. Sheldon would have been better off offering me $100 million to drop out of the race.

I know Republicans are still sorting out what happened in 2012, but one thing they all agree on is they need to do a better job reaching out to minorities. And look, call me self-centered, but I can think of one minority they could start with. (Waves hand and smiles) Hello? Think of me as a trial run, you know?

My charm offensive has helped me learn some interesting things about what’s going on in Congress — it turns out, absolutely nothing. But the point of my charm offensive is simple: We need to make progress on some important issues. Take the sequester. Republicans fell in love with this thing, and now they can’t stop talking about how much they hate it. It’s like we’re trapped in a Taylor Swift album.

One senator who has reached across the aisle recently is Marco Rubio, but I don’t know about 2016. I mean, the guy has not even finished a single term in the Senate and he thinks he’s ready to be President. Kids these days.

I’m also hard at work on plans for the Obama Library. And some have suggested that we put it in my birthplace, but I’d rather keep it in the United States. Did anybody not see that joke coming? Show of hands. Only Gallup? Maybe Dick Morris?

And some from Conan:

The last time I hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner was in 1995. It’s amazing to think how much our country has changed in 18 years. If, in 1995, you told me that in 2013 we’d have an African-American president with the middle name Hussein who was elected to a second term in a sluggish economy, I would have said, “oh, he must have run against Mitt Romney”.

As a late night comedian, I was kind of pulling for the rich guy whose horse danced in the Olympics.

A lot of online stars are in the room but, unfortunately, Matt Drudge couldn’t make it. He had a prior commitment to teach a web design class in 1997.

Some people say print media is dying, but I don’t believe it. And neither does my blacksmith.

The print media are here for two very good reasons: food and shelter.

It’s no surprise that Speaker John Boehner isn’t here tonight. President Obama and John Boehner are kind of like a blind date between Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. In theory, they understand each other’s positions but, deep down, you know nothing’s ever going to happen.

The Sequester is All Obama’s Fault

Obviously, right? I mean, come on, he’s the President. He’s the one in charge of the budget, right?

What’s that? The House of Representatives controls the budget under Article I?

Well. Um. Sure, but he’s the President. Surely he can do something.

“What more do you think I can do?” Obama asked at a Press Conference recently. “I’m the President, not a Dictator.”

In all seriousness, this is a problem for both sides and any attempt to make it look one-sided is completely partisan.

At the same time, it should be noted that when this whole thing started, Boener said he got “98% of what he wanted” in the deal. So maybe that’s why he’s not willing to compromise.

We’ll see who ultimately takes the blame for this.