Debate or not Debate

By PatD, a Trail Mix Contributor

While getting set for the kick-off game on Monday between Team Hillary and Team Trump, an article on the background of how this superbowl came to be caught my eye.

The State of the Presidential Debate
How should candidates—and voters—argue about politics?
By Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

Aside from historic references, political insider tales and the discovery that a man named Ailes is still coaching debaters, it had other lessons worth sharing. The following excerpt seems applicable to recent discussions on the Trail:

“Political argument has been having a terrible century. Instead of arguing, everyone from next-door neighbors to members of Congress has got used to doing the I.R.L. equivalent of posting to the comments section: serially fulminating. The U.S. Supreme Court is one Justice short of a full bench, limiting its ability to deliberate, because Senate Republicans refused to hold the hearings required in order to fill that seat. They’d rather do battle on Twitter. Democratic members of Congress, unable to get the House of Representatives to debate gun-control measures, held a sit-in, live-streamed on Periscope. At campaign events, and even at the nominating Conventions, protesters have tried to silence other people’s speech in the name of the First Amendment. On college campuses, administrators, faculty, and students who express unwelcome political views have been fired and expelled. Even high-school debate has come under sustained attack from students who, refusing to argue the assigned political topic, contest the rules. One in three Americans declines to discuss politics except in private; fewer than one in four ever talk with someone with whom they disagree politically; fewer than one in five have ever attended a problem-solving meeting, even online, with people holding views different from their own. What kind of democracy is that?”

Will we individuals ever return to civil discourse, civil discussion and civil debate while civilly listening to those with whom we disagee let alone allow, expect and want that of our government leaders and representatives?

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86 thoughts on “Debate or not Debate”


    don’t know pat- lots of keyboard warriors and trolls out there spewing hate and lies which has created a very aggressive atmosphere.  for instance i was the recipient of a veiled threat to my life here years ago..  it seemed shocking at the time but sadly not so much now.

    most excellent comment tony!

    you know the press is pretty bad when the pope starts commenting on it.

  2. fine post, patd…eprof hit on the digital explosion, expulsion and plain old puking of opine…which I am adding here.  My belief that after years of the social isolation of home schooling and the lack of civics history and training in public schools? — many digital newcomers to democracy haven’t a clue about the historical and the relevance in politics…mostly living in the digital and the emotional ‘now.’

  3. Woo Hoo ( guess this is from the past?)

    Patd – Is there debate anywhere today?  As I read your post I think of my responsibility to encourage debate and also present a respectful and open position that does not discourage but invites others to share their thoughts.  I know I have a long way to go. Many times we have the same objective to achieve a good result however we see a different path to the same result.  We do not ask “Why” and try to understand the others path.

    OSH – I like the link to the edited Pope’s comments regarding Journalism.  It does not go far enough as Journalism is DEAD and he cannot revive this loss.  Just watch the programs that are presented as “NEWS CHANNELS” and the very inappropriate comments from the host are shameful.  When is the last time one of these editorial host asked questions to peel the onion and get the full story?  They falsely fact check from their own modified library of talking points that are so aligned with the narratives of the candidate they like.

    Looking forward to doing better and learning your passion and why you support and feel so strongly for certain causes.

  4. and the politic digital allows hacks like trump to tether to the dialog and control its content with his junk.

    mr pp, trump is very threatening to me…I know his supporters like to see that fear, the bed wetting, etc., but every time I think of trump…immediately the nibelungenlied comes to mind…I understand trump wanted the song of the neblelungs to be played at his convention…mannafort (remember him?) explained it to him gently.  From the wikipedia…sound familiar?  Using the ‘song’ to promote nationalism.

    Imagery from the Nibelungenlied was used in many poems, essays, posters and speeches at every stage in the development of German nationalism, from the Befreiungskriege(Wars of Liberation) to the regime of National Socialism (Nazism), to less jingoistic interpretations and references today.

     For example, one famous poster from the 1930s links Siegfried’s death with the Dolchstosslegende (the idea that German soldiers were stabbed in the back by the peace treaties of 1918) and shows a Siegfried-like figure stabbed with a dagger, not a spear.

  5. or maybe it is just my sixty-two years of hyper vigilance for dickheads, like trump, nixon, etc. that causes such fear.

  6. Blonde

    Can we agree that both Hillary and Donald have the same situation?  Can we agree that the editorial hosts are clearly not helping dig into getting the passion behind the candidates?  Your post is very interesting trying to link American Patriotism is not a good and is a basis of evil.  I invite you to explore the basket of people that support Trump.  You will find they are giving, hard working and loving people.

    I understand that Trumps style, context and messaging can be hard to get past.  No doubt he has done a very poor job but is learning to shift from Entertainer to Politician.  Hillary has had so many decades to know how to play the system in this regard.

    Now is the time to get to the real basis and the real questions.  Can open minds prevail?  Can we stop the attacks that use emotional fiction to demonize the other but instead present the values and passions that will drive the future?

  7. never vote for trump as it is not a matter of style, manner, prejudice, etc., he doesn’t fit the job…his resume is weak and I believe he will be easily played on international scene…china would manipulate him like their currency…mexico has already played him.  Plus, I cannot vote for anyone who does not pay taxes and keeps coming back to the middle for his military waste and might while we are still repairing the vets from past 60 years of wars.  Besides, I already found a level headed and an experienced woman for the job…let us save some money and offer her just 75% of the salary male presidents receive…would that make you vote for her??

  8. BTW, I am a patriot…I am a watchful border citizen..on our trip to visit the skin shaman in Silver City?  Hubby and I vigilantly searched for the ISIS camps that drudge used to write about on a daily basis…camps of RITs (radical islamic terrorists, per trump). Yes, the dimmers just need to visit this area before they make their bombastic judgments.  trumps visit to Albuquerque?  Cost us taxpayers a chunk of change for the damage of the riots he incites.  He insulted most of us in the state and claimed that his job was to entertain us….really pp?  Is he still transitioning to politician or is he being the entertainer-in-chief? It is insulting to me and it cost me money.

  9. ping, thank you for hanging in here with us. some days on the trail must be pretty rough on you. two tho’ts on two of your comments:

    “Many times we have the same objective to achieve a good result however we see a different path to the same result.” yep, first step in good negotiating is to find the common goal of both sides and proceed the best way to get there together….. sorta how to share the umbrella.

    “Hillary has had so many decades to know how to play the system in this regard.” that kinda is the gist of enjoying a good old fashioned conversation or debate or even due process. knowing the rules of polite palaver and mannerly discussion, knowing “how to play the system” seems to be a bygone talent of yesteryear’s ability to exchange ideas and seek compromise to a successful conclusion. even if it only results in peaceably agreeing to disagree.

  10. pp knows how to play foil and he may believe he is helping us.  The fact that Clinton can get repugs to vote for her?  A sign that she is more unifying than the bullying and forceful trump.  Might makes right in the boardroom?  Might is incorrect in government.


  11. I leave with the phrase I heard repeatedly earlier this century….Don’t you like your freedom?  The veiled threat from repugs to keep quiet and stay in line or else?

  12. sea, thanks for the pope link.  now the dalai lama has his say.

    Dalai Lama World Exclusive With Piers Morgan On ISIS, Trump And Twitter | Good Morning Britiain

  13. Thanks Patd

    I love this place!  I have lots of fun here and also lots of respect for Craig.  I learned long ago to look and listen past the presentation and try to understand the core.  What is the passion and drive of the person?  What is the background?  What is the agenda?

    Maybe that is why I have chosen to support Donald Trump vs Hillary.  I listened beyond his flare and entertainment. And yes at first I could have gone either way.  Hillary truly had a chance with this moderate, white, middle class, southern boy that wants to see a better world.  Hillary has not made her case as she transitioned from the pandering to get past Bernie.  I know if she talked to me directly she would tell me what she thinks I want to hear.  The problem is when she goes to the next person I hear her telling this person what she thinks they want to hear.

    As I said here in the past I do not think she is evil and I think she does have a heart for good.  But her core values and behavior are not good and I do not trust her.  She is also running to follow Barack attitude as the President of the World.  She does not put Americans First.  We cannot afford our current course and Hillary is more of the same policy that have a good heart behind them but the consequences are killing America.

    Change is coming

  14. Ping

    Thank you for the comments and the good points.

    Usually I dismiss what you say as they come across as trolls.

    Thanks for joining in the discussion.


  15. This discussion has me thinking about our worst presidents. Kinda negative, I know, but I’d say Franklin Pierce, a drunk anti-abolitionist whose policies paved the way for the Civil War. President of the World, Ping? At least Obama didn’t move us to the metric system. And I don’t see that in Hillary’s agenda.

  16. Ping: “I listened beyond his flare and entertainment.”

    I’ve long thought that’s a reason he seems unsinkable no matter what he says. Many just think he’s joking half the time, aggravating the media and his foes, then doubling down when they do get aggravated. Must admit it’s sort of fun to watch. Lesson for Hillary in the debates: Don’t take the bait!

  17. Ping,  when RW hacks like Michael Gerson (Heritiage Foundation, GWB speechwriter and senior advisor 2000-2006) judge drumpf to be uninformed on the single largest threat many see Islamic terrorism to be, how could anyone who shares that view vote FOR him.  and to add insult to injury, Gerson points out:

    Those who believe that preening bluster makes up for willful ignorance and dangerously poor policy judgment have found their man. But this is not the worst of it. Anyone who has spent time working in the White House would attest that the single most important presidential attribute is leadership in times of crisis. We have no idea what challenges the next president may face — an outbreak of deadly pandemic flu, the collapse of order in nuclear Pakistan, a cyberattack on the U.S. electrical grid. All we know — or try our best to know — is the character, stability and credibility of the president himself (or herself).

    On current and consistent evidence, Trump would jump to conclusions, entertain conspiracy theories and lash out in rhetoric that seems tough but actually complicates the task of leadership. Conservatives trying to justify a vote for Trump argue that the presidency itself would somehow mature him. Yet the Republican nominee has provided little reason to believe he is truly capable of learning or benefiting from good counsel. “My primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff,” Trump has said.

    Gerson sums up his article thusly:

    By all of these measures, Trump represents an extraordinary risk to the nation. On foreign policy, he is the worst of all worlds — extreme and alienating in his rhetoric, confused, erratic and weak on matters of policy.When some of us talk about presidential temperament, this is what we mean. Trump has not shown the stability, prudence and judgment the presidency requires in moments of national testing. This is not only disturbing; it is disqualifying.

    So a hack on the right who was instrumental in the formulation and communication to a fearful nation of the Wawonterra can’t see it.  How could I, a somewhat lefty lowly Democrat see it?

    BTW, anyone see the new HRC commercial on drumpf and his views about women?  “Fat ugly face”, “flat chested woman”?  The man is singularly effective generator of words that no one would want used against themselves.

  18. One example of why Trump vs Hillary.

    We cannot afford to pay for the Healthcare of anyone that shows up.   We need to take full care of Americans first.  We have so many other issues and the piggy bank has already been robbed by us.

  19. Ping

    A question for you when you talk about someone’s core.  There is no denying that both of the Clintons have profited well from a life in politics, writing, and speeches.  As far as I can see every dime was made in some legitimate form even allowing for insider contacts and associations.  While doing so they have given generously to charity on their own and established a means that benefits millions globally.

    So far in just this campaign, Donald Trump has made over eight million dollars.  Made speeches to a non existent Institute that paid him millions. Taken thousands in search of a better life to the cleaners with fraudulent Institute and University.  Has not given a dime of his own money to charity since 2008 and has used other people’s money to fund his foundation that then turned around and paid business bills probably committing tax fraud while doing so.  If tried and convicted on the later would make him eligible for impeachment on the day his is sworn into office.

    Currently there doesn’t seem to be anyone who is not ethically challenged, racist seems to be backing his candidacy and politically he is backed only by those types or ones who profit from party power or possible gain from future ambition while Hillary is supported by an Army of close friends and political cohorts.

    For someone who genuinely respects ethical actions, even someone who disapproves of past Clinton actions, I don’t understand how you can support someone as egregiously greedy while profiting off of the misery of others as Donald Trump.


  20. Maybe this is a male female thing like the Three Stooges vs. The Marx Brothers.

    I don’t find anything about Trump fun or funny.  Right from the beginning before a single GOP candidate dropped by the wayside, I found him to be boorish and loathsome … A truly disgusting human being.

    This has nothing to do with Hillary.  If I were a life long Republican, I would be ashamed to back a man that I genuinely believe is a danger to my country.  Luckily I can’t be arrested for thinking what I would like to see happen to him if it were the only way to keep him out of the White House.

  21. “We cannot afford to pay for the Healthcare of anyone that shows up”

    ping, you might be interested in looking at this rand corp recent report I linked on last of last thread


    from rand corp: Estimating the Impacts of the Trump and Clinton Health Plans

    The researchers estimated the likely effects of each policy relative to the Affordable Care Act in 2018 (if it were unchanged) on the number of people with health insurance, consumer out-of-pocket spending and the federal deficit. Funded by the Commonwealth Fund, the analysis can be found in its entirety on the Commonwealth Fund website. [….]

    The Trump plan repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA). So we first analyzed the effect of full repeal by itself. Then we conducted three additional analyses, in which we examined the effect of repealing the ACA combined with each of three other parts of the Trump proposal:

    allowing tax deductions for the full amount of health insurance premiums;
    converting Medicaid to a block grant program; and
    allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines.

    The Clinton plan modifies the ACA. It introduces a number of policies designed to expand coverage and reduce consumer out-of-pocket costs. We analyzed four of the policies included in Clinton’s plan:

    A cost-sharing tax credit of up to $2,500 per individual or $5,000 per family to offset the cost of out-of-pocket spending in excess of 5 percent of income, available to all individuals enrolled in private coverage;
    Reducing the maximum premium contribution individuals must make to enroll in a benchmark plan on the ACA marketplaces;
    Fixing the “family glitch,” a quirk in the ACA that means workers and their families could be ineligible for marketplace tax credits, even if they cannot obtain employer coverage without spending more than 9.7 percent of income on health insurance. We model this policy in combination with the reduction in premium contributions.
    Introducing a public option in the ACA’s marketplaces.


    It’s worth noting that both the Trump and Clinton campaigns have proposed additional policies besides the ones we modeled. For example, Trump has proposed expanding the use of health savings accounts and Clinton has proposed extending the 100 percent federal matching to encourage states to expand their Medicaid programs, a Medicare buy-in for individuals ages 55 to 64, and allowing undocumented immigrants to buy into the marketplaces without federal subsidies. Both candidates have also proposed policies that could save money, such as policies to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Because we didn’t model these provisions, we can’t comment on the entirety of either candidate’s health proposals.

  22. For every biased article for, there are equal against.  What are the authors intentions, Passion and agenda?  We all gravitate to other sources to support our claims, passion and agenda.

    Another reason for Trump is Job Creator and also equal pay for Women.  Trump has actually achieved what Hillary has not regarding the support for women.  Hillary has good intentions but even with full control of our government just 4 short years ago,  what was advanced?


  23. ACA is Payment reform and NOT Healthcare reform.  True it is a driver to bring true Healthcare Reform but managed by a central government will not bring the advances we need.  Innovation, advances made by Pioneers to improve outcomes at lower cost are true healthcare reform.  Do you want the care available today or from even just 20 years ago?  What is the driver of these vast improvements?  Risk / Reward combined with innovation, knowledge and passion.

    An easy example is exploratory surgery.  Something from the past that is barbaric compared with today’s healthcare.  How did we come to such awesome advancements in Healthcare?  ACA is social reform and must be viewed for what it is, and I agree that all Americans should have access to quality care.  ACA does not help this happen.

  24. ping, are you saying the rand corporation is biased in their research and assessment of the two healthcare proposals?

  25. patd….   great post!  I too like civil discourse…  but (you knew that was coming) every now and then a little passion in a post can give a spark.  Take for instance the exchanges between Will Buckley and Gore Vidal that you referenced when I mentioned I had just read Vidal’s authorized biography.  98% of the time Firing Line was very civil even when discussing opposing points of view.  Buckley and Vidal, however, clearly got under each other’s skin.  Those exchanges are probably the most referenced and well remembered of any during Firing Line’s tenure.

  26. ny post: Joe Scarborough’s son hospitalized after bad fall

    “His son Andrew had a horrible accident. Head injury, fractured skull… He fell down a flight of stairs,” said Brzezinski, adding that doctors “stabilized” Andrew who is recovering at Bellevue Hospital.

    “It’s touch and go, but we’re stabilized, and,” said Brzezinski, letting out a huge sigh. “It’s a long night. And prayers for them.”

    Brzezinski added that she, along with much of the “Morning Joe” team, went to the hospital overnight to support Scarborough.

    “We want to thank the folks at Bellevue what an incredible place. I can tell you because I saw it myself — alright, we’ll get to the news,” she said.

  27. PATD,

    WAPO – WOW POO!  The are so status quo and into the current central control and Trump is a threat to their progressive liberal agenda.  He will never get an even halfway fair treatment from that not even rag.  (was that outside of appropriateness?)

    Question – How did Egypt become so unstable?

    Another reason not to vote for Hillary and the continuation of the dangerous failed policy of the last 8 years.  OK – We can all agree that Hillary is much more of a Hawk then Barack. No doubt however the world today is so much more dangerous after 8 years, failed red lines and attempts to over turn sovereign governments under the direction of Hillary and Barack.

    Trump will keep America First.  I also wonder why so many of the progressive liberal left are attacking Trump when 8 years ago Barack was even more aggressive doing the same,  only he apologized for America helping to keep the world safe, and now look.

    Give Trump a chance – What do you have to lose?

  28. Ping

    I agree with you journalism is dead unfortunately nothing else you said about Trump is true. He is not a friend to women and he is not promoting equal pay and his child care program only helps the rich

  29. daily beast:
    Trevor Noah Gets Real on Police Shootings: Black People Aren’t ‘Crazy’
    ‘The Daily Show’ host turns serious while discussing yet another spate of police shootings.

  30. Ping

    What do I have to lose?  The country I love in favor of Hitler’s Germany while handing it over to a bunch of white power yahoos.  Godwin’s Law be damned.  Trump is running for dictator not President.


  31. excerpt from oped also in wapo today by Andrei Kozyrev, foreign minister of the Russian Federation from 1990 to 1996, is a distinguished fellow with the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute

    Ex-Russian foreign minister: Trump’s autocratic ways make me panicky

    …I expect some Americans to say: “It is our business. You, foreigner, have no say in it.” This would be so, were America not great. But America is great. It is a superpower that plays a unique global role. When there is some new national leader — “Il Duce” in Italian — trying to impose a new order anywhere in the world, the United States can and will contain him. That happened with World War II, and it happened with the Cold War. In places around the world, it continues to happen, with the help of NATO and other U.S. allies. That’s why democratically minded people everywhere look at the United States with gratitude and hope. Yet many of us are concerned, and we want our voices heard. We urge Americans to be mindful of their leading role and international responsibilities as a great country and a great democracy when they go into the voting booths.

    Your mistake might spell a global disaster. There is no substitute for America as a pillar of world stability, and no one to contain an American Duce.

  32. Ping, Trump as “Job Creator” — he would do well to lay out some plausible specifics on how he’d do that in government — trickle down? public works? It might take a forceful Republican president to get a serious (and expensive) jobs program through the GOP Congress, but not sure what he’d do. Confident assertions and references to his business career aren’t convincing enough.

    I’d welcome a Trump presidency if I thought he really has the plans and skill set to get the middle income workforce back on track. Tired of just rhetoric from Democrats. John Edwards was the last Dem I believed would actually try to do something real, but the poor guy blew himself up.

  33. Hi, Ping.

    I hear you saying that Hillary talks out of both sides of her mouth–choosing sides depending on the listeners. That is quite possibly accurate as most subjects are complex and legislation affects different parts of our country (constituencies) unequally. It is only logical to place proposed legislation in an (intellectually honest) light that will be favorably received by any particular group at any particular time.

    That does not mean that some topics are not exceedingly direct. The Freedoms in our Bill of Rights are examples. Just straight talk there with no nuance. Other things of that importance would include quality education for each of our children and all the legislative initiatives that follow from that thought. Health care, of course, fits. Everyone here can name the others. That includes you, Ping.

  34. Egypt is unstable because of years of American policy supporting the

    air force instead of democracy ..more republican policy than democrat. Republicans seem to suffer from catastrophic memory loss

  35. patd – I am not saying the Rand is biased.  Health and Healthcare (Two different connected elements) are very complex before you connect them to social agenda.  I do not see the Rand Report responding to the motivational elements of Hillary that will provide healthcare to anyone that shows up and at a cost that will take away from the needs of Americans first.

    Hillary and her plan are costly and do not address the many complex issues.  The Hillary plan will continue the path to bankruptcy by continuing the open door policy to meet her world political agenda.

  36. Who is defined here as an American.   Clinton plans to provide health care for Americans .  Trump does not.
    When “Americans” go abroad and get sick in countries with so called socialized medicine – they come home and talk about the wonderful care and no charge… duh!
    As a proud Floridian how do you feel about the Republican congress blocking zika funding


  37. More early voting stats — advantage Dems..














  38. Flatus

    Love the comments –  I would argue that the Bill of Rights and Moral Responsibility are two different elements.  Many times this is confused.

    The CENTRAL ISSUE between Trump and Hillary is the loss of direction of the Democratic party.  Compare the famous words from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  We can stop the presses and the blog right here!!!!!

    Today it is all about giving away and nothing about personal responsibility.   I will not go into the Socialist Progressive failed policy details.

    Our Country is going to be BANKRUPT.  We have the most dangerous global environment in decades!  Many of our inner cities are more dangerous than a war zone.  Hillary is part owner of these failures.  She only attacks Trump as do so many others.  These attacks on Trump and his supporters as being from an evil WWII are just sick.

    Something must change


  39. Gee Ping

    I would think you would want to be a proud defender of what Trump is saying instead of having to lie about his plans

    His health care is only for people who can afford it.   Live free die takes on a new meaning with Trump

    No food, no food stamps, no problem soon you will be dead

    Certainly one way to get rid of our “excess” population.  BE a proud Republican stand up for what you really believe in not the lies you are posting here

  40. Enjoyed the dialogue

    Craig – Early vote but does it change if not motivated?

    Also response to your question about Job Creation.  How cool is it we are having so much political discourse? Why?  Trump!  He is addressing concerns and you may not agree with him but he IS THE REASON this is happening.  No one of his or Hillary’s magnitude can escape criticism.  We can go back and forth, share creative stuff supporting and attacking each other all day long.

    Trump will win because he is bringing up these issues.  I saw genuine care and concern for those that lost family members to illegals.  He cares,  he just has such a brash style and does not respect the media so they attack him.

    Trump will bring dialogue,  Will bring back personal responsibility,  Will empower the forces which will positively impact the velocity of our economy that will create jobs.  Craig the problem is we have NO JOURNALIST that will sit down and ask the questions – WHY, HOW, WHEN, WHERE, WHO?  They run off at both candidates trying to be the one that catches them in a negative.

    The debates killed Romney who was on the rise because Romney was weak.  Trump has the chance to turn the dial!

    I need to go back to my capitalistic evil world to make a paycheck to pay the taxes to support…….

    Hope you all have a good day!

  41. ping, you may just get your wish… and be careful what you wish for… according to this guy at fix in wapo:

    Trump is headed for a win, says professor who has predicted 30 years of presidential outcomes correctly

  42. One last….

    Trump and the plan will support those in need.  Problem is the expansion and centralization   So much happens in a much more effective way vs just the Federal Government.  I do not depend or use the Federal Government to deliver need and care for our local community.  My donations to food banks,  Women shelters and other places directly pay and do so much more vs a federal program.  Federal Programs the weaken our society.  Yes I said that statement.

    You are not stopped to help others because there is not a costly ineffective federal program !!!!!

    This goes back to the key issue

    “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

    Trump will win as Hillary is not change or the answers.

    Now really off to work


  43. Well every other predictor who has been right for multiple elections says Clinton including UVa Crystal ball

    Lichtman’s streak is coming to an end

  44. It’s important that we put Kennedy’s famous words in context with their leading and following paragraphs:

    “…    In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

    And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.

    My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. …”

    That year I was a young man at the beginning of my military career. Kennedy’s short presence was a tumultuous time in Europe with the Berlin Crisis, and in the Southeastern United States with the Cuban Crisis. And then we had the emerging tensions in Southeast Asia.

    Yes, Ping, we need someone who will live Mr Kennedy’s words. In this case, with septuagenarians, we can only look at past performance. Are the curricula vitae of supposed public service and charity and caring for our citizens fact or fiction? Ask the fact checkers.

  45. it makes one want to cry from frustration and for empathy but here’s a another good one in wapo today:
    Is she ‘likable enough’?
    The real Hillary Clinton — the funny, kind, passionate woman her friends and colleagues insist actually exists — has been missing from public view for so long that even some of her most admiring defenders wonder whether she will ever emerge again.

    On the eve of the first presidential debate, Clinton’s campaign is launching a drive to convince voters that she is, well, human. The move, coming just six weeks before the election, is a frank admission that whether it traces to her embarrassingly public marital traumas, or to the arrows aimed at her during the White House years by conservative activists and news reports, or to a lifetime playing the role of the serious, responsible daughter, sister and wife, Hillary Clinton still struggles to be even “likable enough,” as candidate Barack Obama put it during the 2008 campaign.

    [long article follows but well worth the read. last paragraph]

    She said she is “not Barack Obama” or Bill Clinton, whose “naturalness . . . can be more difficult for a woman.” When she sees male politicians “pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election . . . I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ ”

  46. Jamie, must be a venus/mars thing. had the same sensation.  perhaps my instantaneous revulsion to the quintessential epitome and embodiment of a bully is on a par with the other side’s subconscious view of a scold, know it all, hated teacher or mother-in-law or boss…. or maybe ex-wife. unfortunately, irrational and visceral in both situations

  47. My donations to food banks,  Women shelters and other places directly pay and do so much more vs a federal program.  – pp

    Sounds like trump charity…I like a merging of both private and public…why it can’t be both for you?  I just do not buy private charity over public assistance to our citizens in need (temporary most of the time).  Take Food bank donations — I hope you donate cash or time instead of those old cans of worthless mush or expired food…plus the USDA food bank support assistance is a federal support for food banks. The SNAP program helps support local grocery stores, farmer’s markets, etc.  To take the workers and companies out of distribution of food to the poorer or needier humans is absurd.  Poor humans should also have choice of where to buy food and how to buy food.  Children need to learn that, too, along with healthy eating habits.  Talk about killing capitalism.  So, I do not buy your superficial answers and platitudes to real problems…that morph year to year.  Food insecurity is real even for working Americans…the recession killed jobs and money flow which created a vacuum of how to pay for health care since no one was working…if the government did not step in???  More dead Americans.


  48. Flatus, thank you for the context for Kenned’s most famous quote.  Whether in or out of context, if that standard is applied to drumpf, he falls short.  Trumpf does for trumpf; kinda sums it up.

    Ping, you provide not one whit of detail about what trump’s plans are to provide healthcare for those who would have no insurance to pay for it if he gets the opportunity to repeal the ACA.  The Rand report does.  Based on the numbers it recites my fear is that we’ll be back where we were before ACA’s passage – with hospital ERs (public & non  profit by and large) providing primary care, paid for by the very thin margin (3% or so) that such facilities operate with.  It’s called uncompensated care on the balance sheet.  It reduces the money available to fund facilities, employees and equipment.  Insurance funds that care or enables the folks who go to the ER because no Urgent Care or primary care doc will see them without insurance.  So while healthcare insurance is definitely different than healthcare, the two are intimately intertwined from the provider’s perspective, and without one, insurance, the resources needed to achieve the other, improved healthcare, is hampered at a minimum and precluded in fact.  You may recall, I was counsel to a hospital for a number of years and have seen the process from the inside.

  49. as said before, don’t confuse them with facts, pogo, and real life experience doesn’t matter anymore.  🙂

  50. All I know is that in the long history of the United States there has never been a time when the jingoistic, America Firsters, neo nazi, white power, and their all to obedient knee jerk followers have never been good for the citizens of the US.  They have done nothing but benefitted the powerful and wealthy while running up the bills at the expense of the general population.

    They may be only between 30 – 40% of the population but they will destroy this nation and everything it supposedly stands for unless the vigilant throw their greedy, selfish asses out of power as forcibly as possible.

    For those who only know one JFK sentence, you might want to read the whole thing Inaugural Address 

    And from what was the once sane Republican Party

    “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

    And in similar version (wrapped in a flag carrying a cross) misattributed to Sinclair Lewis but accurate none the less:

    “When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism’” – An uncredited New York Times reporter covering Halford E. Luccock in an article published September 12, 1938.

  51. good news for ping, won’t have to worry about fed gov’t after 9/30…. shutdown likely
    bloomberg: Stuck Congress Flirts With Shutdown Nobody Wants or Expects

    A procedural vote on the McConnell plan is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, giving time for senators to digest Monday night’s presidential debate and the weekly partisan Senate strategy lunches.

    The White House Office of Management and Budget announced Friday that the federal government is starting to gear up the machinery for shutting down nonessential functions.

  52. Ping

    Your form of healthcare only means that the poorest and sickest would be the most expensive by the time they get treatment while at the same time endangering the rest of us with untreated illnesses.

    Lack of decent infrastructure means that we are creating hazards for the bulk of the population while putting poor families at risk from lead and environmental poisons.

    Like it or not there must always be a partnership between public and private actions.  The need for the Commons has never been greater, but we are draining the wealth of the nation for the benefit of corporations and ever increasing wealth of the 1%

  53. Ping

    Pretty much everything you have said  about the food stamp v charity is untrue, a lie not factually correct.  It terms of biggest bang for the buck the food stamp program is one of the most successful.   It is tough to have a conversation with someone (all republicans) who live in some kind of factless and feckless alternate reality.

  54. Pat: Really good post. Fascinating article. I remember the first Kennedy/Nixon debate. I was a teenager but even I could tell that Nixon was done for by his performance(or lack of) on the debate. I hope this point: “Lehrer thinks that the more people are talking, even sometimes over the top, or ill-informed, the better,” since even a debate that some viewers find vulgar or unhinged “exposes and illuminates, and people get something out of that.” is correct since I suspect there will be some vulgar/unhinged moments. I will watch even though I think it’ll be like watching a train wreck.

    Ping: I admire the courage of your conviction but I fear that a lot of people who are looking beyond Trump’s blunderbuss are filling in the blanks with what they want to be true. That may not be you, but when I read comments like yours it does give me pause. I don’t understand statements like “But her core values and behavior are not good and I do not trust her.” She has spent 30 years doing good works for children and families. Trump has spent his life doing good for himself. What core values and behavior do you trust? Also, unless I’m totally misreading, you think at some point Hillary had total control of our government and apparently failed miserably. I don’t know of anyone who ever had total control of our government so I don’t know where that idea stems from. I do know, from all the statements Trump has made, Donald Trump is someone who would relish having complete control of our government. Thing is we used to call people like that dictators. Do you really want one as the leader of the free world? “How cool is it we are having so much political discourse? Why?  Trump!” If you’ve been paying attention, the political discourse going on around the country and even here may indeed be because of Trump, but not for the reasons you believe. It’s because we’re all terrified that this maniac will become President! Rhetoric & slogans are one thing but “make America great again” and “keep America first” doesn’t matter at all when you listen to the hateful words this man actually utters! Quoting JFK in a comment to further the Trump agenda is insulting to JFK! I must add that I worked for and with “food banks, Women shelters and other places” for many years and I can assure you that while private donations are wonderful, appreciated and necessary, without state & federal aid those places wouldn’t exist. Those ideas are part of the trickle down theory and it’s been proven time & time again that it does not work.

    OSH: Amazing that even the Pope sees how destructive the media has become and yet, they have no self-awareness! As I indicated in previous comments, I can’t even call what goes on in media today journalism. What the hell do they even teach in Journalism classes these days?

    Jamie: Love the Eisenhower quote! So many people today know nothing about the Republican party before it became the party of hate!

    Re comments from yesterday:

    eProf2: Not only are we on information/tech overload these days, but far too many people without the ability to process that information are making judgments based on it. I think this ‘digital age’ is frightening and may well determine the fate of the human race. Here’s hoping we rise to the level of our better selves.

    Jamie: Thanks for the reminder about The Man. I think I read it many years ago but forgot about it. I put it on a wish list to order a Kindle copy so I can read it again. Also, I thought The Good Place was adorable 🙂

    For a little levity in the vane of ‘so, tell me how you really feel’…

  55. Granny

    That GQ article is a must read absolutely F word for F word pronouncement.  It is right and it is hilarious.  Destroying them at the polls is mandatory because murder is illegal.


  56. the centipedes of THE Donald — meme shitposter luckey supports trump.  In my youth, sublimation was a very popular topic and we spent much time staring at the whiskey ad with ice cubes in a glass of alcohol on the rocks.  Supposedly, a couple was having sex on the ice cube which induced humans to buy the alcohol.  In the digital world, a creation of political memes meant to get humans to vote for trump…the new sex on the ice cube.

  57. Gotta hand it to you, X R………you been an X R for quite some time now…….I’m curious as to the timing of your X……..

  58. For me, It was a toss-up between Ike and the Egghead, but I liked the Egghead…….even over the Greatest General since Kutusov…..I may never know why.

  59. I wavered during LBJ’s later years, but the old boy never failed to finally do the right thing.

    other than that


    i know that what drove LBJ’S life was a childhood promise to himself to always be a “Good Man”

    like many of us, he fucked up royally and got in over his head.


    The Dems lost direction ? To me, the split of the church folk, the neoconmuists, and the white supremecists looks like a loss of direction.

    Nukes for the saudis. The end of NATO.

    Protectionism and US boots in the Syrian dust.

    Trade war with commie China and nuclear war with northKorea.

    The White House moved to the Kremlin. Dissenters are sued for libel and jailed.

    Subsides for B!LL!ONA!RE real e$tate developer$ (guess who?); meanwhile, taxes on poor folks & disabled vets.

    Stiff upper lip, says the spoiled brat. Change is coming.

    Yeah, another bankruptcy and a younger wife.

  61. Sturg does his best Will Smith.   Good on ya, man.

    Well, I hope lyin’ Ted doesn’t have eggs in his stomach.   He swallowed and could fertilize them if he does and give birth to another drumpf spawn.  Asshole.

  62. Sturgeone, I liked Ike, but hated nixon. Hated the wars, too. Became a near anarchist, proponent of tiny gov, free enterprise competition, and local control. Oh yeah, and ecology.  In the late 70s, the racism, religious bigotry, and pugacity/jingoism of the repug annoyed me increasingly. The first reagan admin, with an openly bigoted and anti-environment james watt heading Interior made me blazing angry. There were other things, too, but the bigotry and anti-environmental attitudes got me angry. Then, after all the talk about helping small business, it chose to side with mega-business instead.

    By 1982, I was irrevocably anti-republican. Yeah, it was ’82.

  63. XR’s enlightenment,  1982.  You were the rare pug who wasn’t fooled by saint Ronnie.  Congratulations on your conversion.

  64. 82 I moved from Nashville to Denver with a by-pass in god’s geography.

    In Denver they’d say, “Nash-whut?”

  65. That was soon after the month and a half at the Royal Hotel on River St. In Moose Jaw in the dead of winter………including Christmas and New Years…………followed by Melfort, Fargo, and Mandan.


    Melfort was 300 miles north of Moose Jaw..


    We got fired in Melfort in our 2nd week cause we let some friends we met, Cree……onstage to sing Merle Haggard………

    Yeah the bosses were like Massa and hey what’s a Matta you on us for letting the natives sing……….drag……..we let em up more.   They weren’t bad at all.


    And I guess they might have had another little grievance or two……. 

  66. XR: I was never a republican, I’m officially Independent, and I liked Ike. Yes I was a kid but as I’ve mentioned news and talking about world events was very big in my house. I didn’t really have strong negative feelings about repugs till Nixon. First because he was part of the McCarthy insanity and second because he was voted in after the repugs has crashed and burned over civil rights and also, as I mentioned earlier, I never forgot the impression he made on the teenage me during that first debate with JFK. As for Reagan, I lost my job about 5 minutes after he became President (slight exaggeration noted) He called for and signed off on cuts to human services. Lots of jobs lost and many people suffered, mostly women & children. I was completely anti-republican after that so that was around 1982 for me too.

  67. last night, y’all almost sounded like witnessing time in a foursquare hard scrabble church.  ’82 was a time for enlightenment of the soul.  and within a year or two later many eyes opening and lifestyles changing….aids, iran-contra, 1st woman nominated veep candidate, you name it

  68. another blast from the past

    npr: WATCH: 20 Years Before ‘Two Ferns,’ Hillary Clinton Played Forrest Gump

    It was 1995. Bill Clinton was president. His wife, Hillary, had been through a bruising political defeat after leading a charge to reform health care. And Forrest Gump won the Academy Award for best picture.

    So when the Gridiron Club, one of the oldest journalist groups in Washington, held its annual dinner, it must have seemed obvious how the first lady would make a splash — she would star as “Hill-ry Gump” in a video loaded with topical comedy. (Skits are a staple of the Gridiron dinner, which is supposed to be off the record, and given how the performances from politicians and reporters can go, they might wish that were honored better.)

    and even earlier

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