Fair and Unbalanced

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Mike Littwin

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."

Littwin: Be afraid. Very afraid.

Littwin: Be afraid. Very afraid.

Once, we had a choice.

We could imagine Donald Trump in the White House when the news comes of a Chelsea-like explosion, one that has all the hallmarks of terrorism but with not yet enough information to say for sure.

Or we could tell ourselves that the idea of Donald Trump in the White House is beyond imagining – and leave it that.

But now that we’re seven weeks out from Election Day, there is no longer any Option 2. If you doubt it, just check in, as I do far too often, with the Nate Silver prediction model, which today gives Trump a 41 percent chance of becoming president. That’s four chances in 10. For the math-impaired, that’s dangerously close to 50-50, a coin flip.

So we have no choice but to consider what a Trump presidency might look like. And for this exercise, all we can do is extrapolate from candidate Trump, who on the night of the Chelsea explosion, tells a Colorado Springs rally that a bomb went off in Manhattan and that we have to toughen up if we’re going to save ourselves. “Nobody knows exactly what’s going on. But boy, we are living in a time — we better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough,” Trump said, before moving on to brag on his latest poll numbers in Colorado.

And then when it turns out that the explosion was a bomb – as anyone could have guessed, but as anyone in a position of responsibility would not have, because, you know, it would be irresponsible – Trump went on Fox & Friends the next morning to congratulate himself for being “right,” when, of course, by even the lowest of presidential standards, he was absolutely wrong.

Trump bragged that he “called” it “before the news” when he actually “called” it – as if that’s what a prospective president should be doing – before the police.

In other words, he guessed. If he were president, presumably he could have at least made an educated guess, having access to briefers and also to the FBI director’s cell phone number. But why would he be guessing? Why not wait the few extra hours until he actually knew something? Because to not guess is to give in to political correctness? Because following 200 years of guidelines is boring? Because stirring up panic is the best way to ensure that your audience will embrace a strong man?

We’re going to take this slowly because it matters. Forget the name calling between Trump and Clinton. That’s just politics. Each is trying to find the advantage in an act of terror – Trump by blaming Clinton for ISIS and Clinton by saying that Trump is a “recruiting sergeant” for ISIS. Whatever your thoughts are on Clinton, we pretty much know how she’d react in this situation as president. But we have to remind ourselves on Trump because there has never been anyone like him anywhere near the White House. And we have to wonder when he gives us some insight on his secret plan to deal with ISIS. On Monday, he said we need to “knock the hell” out of them.

You may remember when Trump was slammed for congratulating himself immediately after the Orlando shooting. What he was “right” about then, apparently, was in saying after San Bernardino that there would be another terrorist attack sometime, somewhere, and that we had to toughen up immigration standards – that was in the days of the religious test, I believe – to prevent yet another attack. Of course, it turned out that the Orlando killer was born in America, meaning, for Trump’s plan to have worked, we would have had to have done a better job vetting his parents not just as potential U.S. citizens, but also as potential parents.

But, because he’s Trump, he chose to double down after Chelsea. He said the problem was – I knew you guessed this one – “political correctness” because the FBI was afraid of being sued if they had put bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami on a watch list. It’s absurd, of course, and demeaning to law enforcement who had quickly found Rahami, thankfully a pretty hapless bomber, sleeping in a doorway.

Or did he triple down? He wildly overstated the number of Syrian refugees that Barack Obama has admitted to the country and then wildly overstated the number that Hillary Clinton wanted to admit. He does this time and again. The fact-checkers say his nose his growing or his pants are on fire. (And Don Jr., of course, has now added to the conversation his infamous Skittles tweet on Syrian refugees, which I won’t spoil for you. Just Google it.)

Meanwhile, Trump Sr. said again that the problem here was a lack of extreme vetting. Of course, Rahimi came to the country from Afghanistan when he was 7, So, what “extreme vetting” must mean, in Trump-speak, is No Muslims Allowed Ever. Add No Muslims Allowed Ever to “knock the hell” out of them, and you pretty much have your President Trump.

Yes, President Trump. Imagine it because we must. Imagine it when Trump says the “bad” thing about getting Rahimi is that he’ll now get “amazing” health care and an “outstanding” lawyer, as if it would be better for an American citizen, even if he’s a suspected terrorist, to just bleed to death on the street.

Meanwhile, Trump is asked whether there’s a foreign connection in the Rahimi bombing, and he says there probably is. The thing is, he has no idea. He has no more idea than you or I do. If Rahimi did have a foreign connection, it must not have been a good one. As terrorist plots go, this one was clearly amateurish. But it was successful enough for Trump to fear-monger. It’s what he does. It’s what he would do as president. You don’t have to imagine it at all.

Flickr photo by Davide D’Amico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Mike Littwin

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
mlittwin@coloradoindependent.com | Twitter @mike_littwin

4 Comments

  1. Keith Campbell on said:

    Trump supporters don’t care about facts and they are not rational. like the old saying “don’t confuse me with the facts”. Studies have shown if a zealot is confronted by facts it enrages him.
    Be afraid, very afraid that 3% of the population own 50% of the guns.
    Keith Campbell

  2. LOIS I MARTINEZ on said:

    In my wildest dreams, I can’t imagine Trump as president. I also can’t imagine a half way educated person voting for him.

  3. Don Lopez on said:

    Desperate times call for desperate measures and Mr. Littwin is clearly desperate because the distance between him and reality continues to grow.

    So in an effort to stop that growing gap he is adapting a tactic which time and again (even in today’s column) he has criticized Donald Trump for: fear-mongering. Of course, Mr. Littwin doesn’t call it that—-that would be hypocritical—- he calls it extrapolating which magically allows him to predict with pinpoint accuracy exactly what President Trump would do in any given hypothetical situation. And, amazingly, this extrapolation mirrors exactly how Mr. Littwin has predicted Mr. Trump would behave were he elected president. Exactly.

    Now, you might ask, how is Mr. Littwin able to do it? Well, it must be some sort of superpower but it’s so much better than being faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive or leaping tall buildings in a single bound because it allows Mr. Littwin to reinforce his wild and crazy preconceived idea of how President Trump would respond to, well, anything.

    Would extrapolation work in predicting Mrs. Clinton’s behavior? Well—-and this is nothing short of another miracle—-we don’t have to because Mr. Littwin says, “we pretty much know how she’d react in this situation as president.” Hey, how convenient is that?

    But, on the slim outside chance that there may be one or two folks who don’t pretty much know how she’d react in this situation as president picture this: After waiting a week President Hillary Clinton is finally ready to address the nation on the alleged bombing in Manhattan only to have her speech interrupted by another coughing fit. After regaining her composure she then shocks the nation by announcing that it was not a bomb that exploded in Manhattan but a defective pressure-cooker and Ahmad Khan Rahami was simply an innocent pressure-cooker salesman whose life and livelihood had been jeopardized by a greedy corporation eager to increase its bottom line by selling cheap defective pressure-cookers.

    Rahami had started drinking after learning his boss had fired him for reporting the defective cooker and shot at police because, well, everyone pretty much knows how police treat suspected terrorists. President Clinton then assures worried Americans that her administration will work tirelessly to ensure that every pressure-cooker sold in American is free of defects. She then ends her speech by kneeling as the National Anthem is played.

    Extrapolation benefits Mr. Littwin in another way: it allows him to ignore yet another terrorist attack on American soil because according to him it was “clearly amateurish”. As if inept terrorism isn’t really terrorism and can be ignored

    But, sadly, Mr. Littwin is not alone is his use of extrapolation as fear-mongering. There’s this from the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky:

    “So think ahead to a Trump presidency. He’s capable of saying something similar about anyone who crosses him—a liberal judge, a by-the-book bureaucrat, a left-wing academic, whatever. And then suppose one of his followers actually takes him up on it. Imagine explaining to your kids why the president of the United States incited a murder. And then imagine your kids asking if you voted for him, and you explaining that well, before the election, you just didn’t see much difference between the two.

    There’s a world of difference. One candidate is flawed. Even deeply flawed, if you prefer. The other is psychotic.”

    To Mr. Littwin, Donald Trump is ”a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party,”

    To Mr. Tomasky Donald Trump is a psychotic who as president will incite murder but, on the plus side, Mr. Tomasky did admit Mrs. Clinton is deeply flawed.

    You can’t make this stuff up! Unless of course you’re Michael Tomasky or Mike Littwin.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    “Donald Trump is gaining support among African-American voters — whose enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton is eroding, a tracking poll released Saturday revealed.” – New York Post

    Trump – 47.7% Clinton – 41.0% Los Angeles Times September 18, 2016

    “Lagging support among Hispanic voters for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and congressional candidates in crucial races has stoked deep concern that the party and the presidential campaign are doing too little to galvanize a key constituency.

    That reality has prompted a flurry of criticism of Clinton’s and the party’s Hispanic strategies. Despite a uniquely favorable environment with Trump’s repeated attacks on undocumented immigrants, Democrats are increasingly worried that the opportunity is slipping away to meet a long-standing party goal of marshaling the nation’s growing Hispanic population into a permanent electoral force. The concerns are compounded by Trump’s recent surge in several battleground states.” – Washington Post

    “But even some zealous Clinton defenders have grown frustrated with their candidate, marveling at the prospect of her snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, for which some say they would never forgive her. The campaign’s decision last week not to acknowledge Mrs. Clinton’s pneumonia until two days after a diagnosis, once video surfaced of her stumbling out of a Sept. 11 memorial service on Sunday, has especially rankled.

    A cartoon in The New Yorker captured it best: A woman sits in her psychiatrist’s office, perspiring in distress. The doctor scribbles on a pad. “I’m giving you something for Hillary’s pneumonia,” the caption reads.” – New York Times

    “If Mr. Trump appears to be waging his campaign in rallies and network interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s second presidential bid seems to amount to a series of high-dollar fund-raisers with public appearances added to the schedule when they can be fit in. Last week, for example, she diverged just once from her packed fund-raising schedule to deliver a speech.” – New York Times

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation
    Garysinisefoundation.org
    Veterans Day – November 11, 2016

  4. Will Morrison on said:

    ANYONE who votes for Trump is a FOOL of the highest caliber. The man is a psychological mess that can’t be allowed NEAR real power.

    It’s taken the right wing nearly 40 years of lying, smearing and making things up to destroy the actual work that Mrs Clinton has done for this country. And they have been very effective. They have made things up and slandered the former first lady and her husband since before they even entered the white house.

    She ALONE has been investigated more than 9-11 was, and NOT ONE piece of evidence has come out that can convict her of anything. How many MORE tens of millions of dollars are the party of fiscal responsibility going to WASTE chasing phantoms that they themselves made up out of nothing?

    And meanwhile, Trump is in court for a FRAUD lawsuit and has had rape charges filed against him by a woman who was 13 at the time. He’s been sued more than 3,000 times, he has shafted more people who have worked for him than one can imagine, and he has used his “charitable” foundation as a means to pay for his legal fees and portraits.

    On one hand, you have a person who the right has demonized for 4 decades, but has NEVER been able to prove anything about in spite of unlimited governmental powers, and on the other hand you have a guy who can’t be trusted to even make a square deal with people for an education. He’s never been shown to be a fair player in any game, and he doesn’t have the first clue about international politics or even how to treat other human beings.

    On one side, the perceived dishonesty brought about by republican harping and lying. On the other, ACTUAL law breaking and dishonesty.

    Sorry, but I just don’t see this as that difficult of a choice. First lady, trained attorney, Senator and secretary of state VS reality TV “star” who has legal issues up his butt. How could this be a difficult choice for anyone BUT the completely brain dead?

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