America’s Bone Marrow Biopsy

Even though I don’t want to, every year I have to see my doctor. He won’t continue my prescriptions if I don’t, so I go. And every time I go he tells me I need to have “blood work” done. “You’re at the age now where we need to take a look,” he says. But I refuse. I just won’t submit to the tests. Why? Because I am one of those people who worry about what the results might be. I worry that the tests might show something is going on inside me that would scare me to death. How did I get to this ridiculous point? Let me explain.

Around 25 years ago I had an illness—some kind of severe blood infection—that resulted in a four-day hospital stay. My doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. He eventually came in one day and said, “I think you may have leukemia.” Huh? Leukemia? Me? He said he wanted to do something called a bone marrow biopsy to see what was going on. I easily consented. It hurt, but I was so sick I didn’t care.

I was released from the hospital to await the results of the bone marrow test. It took a week. In the meantime I thought I was doomed. I read all I could about leukemia. It appeared I had all the symptoms. Yes, I was definitely doomed. I worried and worried and worried, and the worry and stress damaged by digestion. I was nauseated most of the time. Something was wrong and leukemia seemed like the culprit. No doubt about it, I thought.

When I finally got the news that I actually didn’t have cancer, I was absolutely relieved. But the way the doctor delivered the news unnerved me. He said something to the effect, “You don’t have it right now.” He was, I suppose, only making a weirdly placed technical point, but it planted a terrible thought in me. Even though I eventually got myself back to where I had been physically, the psychological damage was done. I knew eventually that something would get me. I had only dodged the bullet this time. If it wasn’t leukemia, it would be something else. No more tests for me, as foolish a notion as that is.

This election, it turns out, is a bone marrow biopsy on America. And like before, I am scared. But this time I fear for our country. What is going on in our national bones? In a bone marrow test the idea is to find out whether your bone marrow is producing healthy Image result for bone marrowblood cells, or whether you have some kind of disease like cancer. This election will ultimately decide whether the obvious infection coursing through our democratic blood—Donald Trump and the alt-right racists and xenophobes and conspiracy nuts he has attracted and normalized—is actually cancer or whether it is something less severe, but still troubling, still able to negatively affect our quality of life as Americans.

No matter who wins on Tuesday, America—understood as one nation united under certain political and moral assumptions—is sick. And we cannot blame our sickness only on Donald Trump. The pathology he represents has been with us since our founding. It afflicts every self-governing civilization to some degree or another. In modern times, America’s democratic immune system has mostly been strong enough nationally to fight demagoguery, bigotry, xenophobia, and other forms of blood- and marrow-fouling hate. In the past we have been strong enough to reject malignant figures like Trump, who has cheated his way through life, molesting women, workers, and the truth.

But there are signs our immune system is weakening. We have symptoms of something terrible going on inside us.

Our FBI director inserted himself, and his agency, into the electoral process ten days ago. James Comey helped Donald Trump and the Republicans, whether he meant to or whether he was merely covering his own behind or whether he was “extremely carelessImage result for james comeyin his handling of the email investigation. He, and the rogue agents inside the bureau who have been leaking damaging (and unsubstantiated, if not false) information about Clinton, have sullied the reputation of an agency we all need to trust, at least as far as elections go. Millions and millions of Americans voted between the time Comey first suggested there was election-affecting significance in a trove of emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop and Comey’s subsequent letter on Sunday saying, essentially, “never mind.” All of that unnecessary and damaging institutional interference is a bad sign of something within America going wrong, but it is not the worst sign.

Generally, the behavior of our political press, which in theory is supposed to protect our democracy from demagogues and dangerous authoritarians, is a more ominous sign that we are in deeper trouble than we might care to admit. In this election cycle, political journalism has ingloriously failed to protect us from a quasi-fascist. Trump can win on Tuesday. That fact itself is enough to cause us to worry that something is terribly wrong with contemporary profit-based journalism and the democracy it helps to preserve, even though there have been several reporting heroes out there like Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald and The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold.

Another worrying fact is that, judging by results, campaign reporters have managed to make Hillary Clinton more untrustworthy to voters than a deluded pathological liar. Focusing on her email controversy (which is, and always has been, a whole lot of nothing) and using Russian-supplied stolen material, they have virtually convicted her of high crimes and misdemeanors—or simply made her appear sneaky and sleazy. The effect has been that large numbers of voters believe that both Clinton and Trump—who is clearly a stranger to facts and a friend of fraud—are equally unworthy to hold office. During the election coverage, Donald Trump’s outrageous and dangerous displays of unhinged behavior faded with every news cycle, but Hillary’s emails, no matter how trivial they were, never went away.

These journalists, taken as a whole, have managed to make a self-admitted adulterer and sexual predator—with many accusers courageously coming forth to confirm Trump’s predation prowess—morally equal to someone whose husband has cheated on her and who is made to pay for his sins—or in the case of the Comey intervention, pay for the sins of Anthony Weiner. Additionally, television journalists and their producers have particularly ignored nearly every substantive issue, which has benefited a policy-stupid Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, who knows more about domestic and foreign policy than perhaps any candidate in modern times.

Polling and the click- and ratings-increasing melodrama it creates has dominated the campaign coverage, while one researcher found that only 32 minutes of air time on the big three nightly news casts this entire year have been devoted to matters of substance—and 24 of those minutes were spent on terrorism and Middle East issues. “No trade, no healthcare, no climate change, no drugs, no poverty, no guns, no infrastructure, no deficits,” the Tyndall Report says. Most Americans, those who get their news from television anyway, don’t have the slightest idea that Trump’s policy ideas are ridiculous and ridiculously unrealistic, or that Hillary Clinton’s are as comprehensive as you are ever likely to see from a presidential candidate. Yes, that journalistic failure is definitely a symptom of something seriously wrong.

Wrong too is the fact that too many Americans get their news on social media platforms or self-select their news sources to avoid news they don’t want to hear. We all know how it goes: Uncle Bill posts on Facebook some propaganda from a fringe website and off it goes, selectively reproduced by those who believe it is true because it has to be true. Facebook itself is to blame for propagating a lot of misinformation, as Vox makes clear:

Facebook makes billions of editorial decisions every day. And often they are bad editorial decisions — steering people to sensational, one-sided, or just plain inaccurate stories. The fact that these decisions are being made by algorithms rather than human editors doesn’t make Facebook any less responsible for the harmful effect on its users and the broader society.

Add all that to the failure of institutions like the FBI to remain neutral in a presidential election and to the profit-obsessed political press that has too many voters confused about the quality of the candidates and we can see that the country has some troubling issues to overcome. But none of that compares to the biggest problem we have: one of our two major political parties is hopelessly disordered.

The Republican Party is the worst symptom of our national disease. It’s crotch-groping presidential candidate last night rallied with crotch-groping Ted Nugent, perhaps the most vile human being breathing American air. Earlier this year Nugent said Hillary Clinton and President Obama “should be tried for treason & hung.” He has called Clinton “a toxic cunt” and a “two-bit whore” and a “worthless bitch.”  But the Republican Party, and the Christianity for which it stands, still cannot manage to denounce Trump for embracing Nugent, an NRA board member. Sick? You betcha.

Maybe sicker is this: The GOP has in many places been at war with democracy by deliberately trying to suppress voters it perceives as political enemies. Thankfully the courts have often intervened on behalf of self-government for all, but not always and not always comprehensively. The story of Republican attempts at suppression has largely gone unreported on television news programs. It is scandalous. But it’s not something most political journalists, or their bosses, find worthy of coverage. I suppose the voter-suppression story doesn’t generate as much income as the gladiators fighting in the pit.

Then there is the fact that not only have most Republican leaders embraced Trump and Trumpism, but some Republicans in Congress are suggesting that Hillary Clinton, even if she triumphs on Tuesday and becomes our first female president, will not really be the president. She will be subjected to enhanced obstruction techniques, to endless investigations and disruptions. Republicans appear willing to waterboard her presidency before she’s even sworn in. In the Senate, some Republicans are suggesting she will never get any of her Supreme Court nominations confirmed. Ever. This is another scandal that not only reveals a nasty pathology in the veins of the Republican Party, but, again, reveals the failure of political journalism because this outrage has largely gone unreported, at least compared to poll results and email news.

Here’s the deal. We know this election season we have had problems with FBI leaks and some shoddy journalism and a grungy Republican Party. But does America really have the social equivalent of cancer? Allow me to quote from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:

Leukemia begins in a cell in the bone marrow. The cell undergoes a change and becomes a type of leukemia cell. Once the marrow cell undergoes a leukemic change, the leukemia cells may grow and survive better than normal cells. Over time, the leukemia cells crowd out or suppress the development of normal cells. The rate at which leukemia progresses and how the cells replace the normal blood and marrow cells are different with each type of leukemia.

Is the emergence of Donald Trump and his extremist followers a sign that cancerous cells in our national bone marrow—which cells undoubtedly exist—have begun to “crowd out or suppress” normal cells? We will know the answer to that on Tuesday night. If Trump wins, we are in trouble. We will have failed the bone marrow test. The worst diagnosis will be upon us.

More likely at this point is that Trump does not win but refuses to go quietly and civilly. If that happens, we will obviously still face big trouble down the road. We will need aggressive treatment—what that entails is anybody’s guess at this point—for our pathology, and most Republicans, as noted, can’t be counted on to help, especially if they retain their command of Congress. Congressional leaders are perhaps the biggest part of the problem and will do all they can to feed the cancer, rather than eradicate it. After all, they actually need Trump’s legion of angry white voters to win future elections.

Speaking of whom, here is an entry on leukemia from the Mayo Clinic:

Leukemia usually involves the white blood cells. Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters — they normally grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which don’t function properly.

In so many ways, this election has been about “abnormal white blood cells,” angry or agitated or aggrieved white voters who find Trump appealing. As many people have pointed out by now, how ironic, if Hillary Clinton wins tomorrow, that it will be people of color who save, at least temporarily, the country from a full-blown Trumpian cancer. It will be people of color who are the “potent infection fighters.”

So, Americans are, like I was long ago, awaiting the lifestyle-changing, perhaps life-threatening, results of an important test. Whatever happens on Tuesday, America will wake up on Wednesday. We may wake up diagnosed with a severe case of national leukemia, with a President-elect Donald J. Trump.  Or we may wake up to the good news that Trump’s presidential hopes are dead. If so, we can rejoice. But we can only rejoice for a day. Trump may be dead as a potential president on Wednesday, but a leukemic Trumpism will still be very much alive in our national bone marrow and bloodstream. How much it thrives will, ultimately, be up to We The People.



  1. Duane,

    The bone marrow analogy is a perfect way to understand where we are as a nation and where we might be headed. But I would make the metaphor a little more extreme: we are living under Damocles’ Sword.

    I’m not worried so much about the election as I am about the days afterward. If Trump refuses to accept the outcome and trashes Hillary, that might set his followers, millions of them, on a path of destroying the country – Damocles’ Sword will have fallen.

    I wrote this letter to the editor of the Tulsa World a few weeks ago. It didn’t get published became I forgot to sign it. Again, the fourth estate had failed us. They have failed to call out the true danger to the country of Trump the candidate, never mind as the president.

    The Editor
    Tulsa World
    October 20, 2016

    Is Trump a Traitor?

    The U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 3, Clause 1, reads, in part, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

    Treason can include any of: (a) a crime of helping your country’s enemies or of trying to destroy your country’s government, (b) a crime that undermines the offender’s government, (c) an act of disloyalty by virtue of subversive behavior, or (d) an act of deliberate betrayal.

    Given those conditions, Donald Trump may, in fact, be a traitor. Under “a” and “c”, if it can be proved that Trump and Russia (Putin) have colluded to clandestinely hack information about Clinton in an effort to undermine her campaign, which would thereby benefit Trump if he elected president and obligate him, and by extension this nation, to a foreign power, that’s “aid and comfort,” and that’s treason.

    Under “b”, in the event Trump supporters materially interfere with the voting process or commit acts of violence or threaten voters under the belief that Trump encouraged such behavior, then that would constitute an insurrection. Again, a treasonous act.

    And finally, under “d”, by his actions and as part of his proposed policies as president, including his refusal to accept the outcome of the November 8th election if he loses, Trump has shown reckless disregard for the Constitution, international treaties and the rule of law.

    Trump is playing with fire. He just doesn’t know it. And neither, apparently, does the news media.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Herb,

      I, too, am worried about not only the days after, but the months and years after. I find it hard to see how Clinton, should she win, can govern effectively. Republicans in Congress simply have no incentive, beyond governmental necessities, to negotiate meaningfully with her, should they retain control of both houses. Their House majority seems locked in for the foreseeable future and the Dems have too many Senate seats to defend in two years. The only way I see anything of consequence happening is if Dems pick up control of the Senate and deploy the nuclear option: do away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Then the Court will be her legacy.

      As far as a treasonous Trump, I am sympathetic to part of your argument. I think the strongest evidence in your favor has yet to come out, if there is any to come out. That would include evidence of direct or indirect collusion (or knowledge thereof) with Russian officials or anyone in the hacker world, as well as direct business interests tied to the Russian government or officials. If there is any such evidence out there and we find out about it, then we can seriously talk about a treason charge and trial. Until then, I’m afraid I’ve heard several constitutional lawyers say that although what Trump has said and done (like inviting the Russians to conduct more espionage against Clinton, a major story that just disappeared from the news) is outrageous and unpatriotic, none of them will say he could be charged with treason.



  2. Despite all the sturm und drang over Comey’s handling of the email investigation, I am finding it hard to blame him. One could say, for example, that he should have said nothing to Congress and the public until the investigation was administratively closed, rather than predicting its final conclusion. But that would have extended uncertainty. Once having testified, however, I can see how he needed to correct his testimony when the additional Abadin emails surfaced. I have read that FBI agents knew the laptop contained HRC emails for two weeks before telling the Director. It is a valid concern, then, to consider whether the rumor is true that the NYC FBI office has many agents who intentionally try to affect politics.

    That said, I agree with the balance of your analysis and analogy, Duane. My concern is not so much Comey’s actions as the general public’s inability to process the information flood provided by the media. Substance has been discussed, just not much in the short-form used by evening TV news and cable. I see it as a form of mass hysteria, and it’s not limited to the uneducated. A relative of mine who graduated college with honors and has a Master’s as well told me last night that Obama had urged illegal immigrants to vote in the election. He said he got it from Yahoo News. It wasn’t, of course, it was a site that just looked like Yahoo. Confirmation bias, pure and simple.

    The problem may be generational. Most voters now seem to have little sense of priorities in government, i.e., keeping us out of war and basic healthcare for all citizens. Instead, it’s stuff like abortion and assault guns that concerns them. And, of course, terrorism and xenophobia. And speaking of war, most seem unaware that isolationist policies in major nations were seen after WW II by most experts as the main cause of both world wars. The global market was seen as the cure for that. An isolationist Trump administration would head us back down that path, even as the EU seems to be failing. There’s the deep, long-term cancer in my opinion.

    And then, there’s always nuclear war. Problem cured, but the patient died.


    • Jim,

      About James Comey, I appreciate your reading of his actions, but I’m afraid you are being a bit generous.

      I am one who believes he should not have held that press conference in July. It was unprecedented and unwarranted. So was his choice of language, specifically the “extremely careless” characterization of her actions he made. That choice was subjective and should not have been aired publicly. It has caused her no small amount of grief from “legal” experts in right-wing media punditry, whose opinions found their way into the mainstream press. Rudy Giuliani tirelessly promoted the idea that Comey’s characterization itself was enough to convict her of a crime and send her to prison. I can’t believe Comey, who once worked for Rudy, couldn’t have seen that coming. He should have limited his comments to his inevitable appearance before Congress and only dealt with how her actions were related to the common interpretation of the relevant statutes.

      Second, I understand but don’t accept the “correct his testimony” rationale for telling Congress about the Weiner emails. He could have first checked the emails, which were likely to be duplicates (as countless people claimed they probably were), and then informed Congress of what was found. There would have been no harm in that, especially compared to the harm that followed his ignoring Justice Department pleas for him not to go public again. If nothing was found in the email check, then no big deal. If something damning was found, then he was obliged to tell Congress about it and Clinton would have had to defend herself. As it was, his actions on that Friday left Clinton hanging without a defense, since she had no idea what the FBI was looking at. And it gave the Trump campaign and Republicans plenty of space to essentially make all kinds of suggestions and false claims about the matter, giving the overblown issue new life, after it had begun to wane. 

      But I suppose the most damning thing Comey did after making those two mistakes, was the utter silence he maintained after the Weiner announcement. He saw all the unwarranted speculation and chaos his action created. All he had to do to contain at least some of it was to make another statement explaining that there was no reason for anyone to draw a negative conclusion from his “pertinent” language. He also could have explained the laptop possibly contained duplicate emails (as some FBI agents apparently leaked to the press) and that the matter was simply to make sure they were indeed duplicates and nothing new was there. His use of “pertinent” suggested to many people that he had already peeked at the emails and found something there. He could have stopped that speculation with a clarification. But utter silence instead. And that silence was infuriating.

      Finally on this matter (sorry for the length, but this has bothered me a lot), there is the rogue agent leaks from New York and elsewhere. He could have and should have commented on those, denouncing them and announcing that he will be conducting an internal investigation. That would have at least done something to slow down the leaks. Again, though, he said nothing. And still has said nothing about those leaks or about the widely reported existence of “Trumpland” in a part of the FBI. It seems to me he owes it to the integrity of the agency to come out publicly and say something about the stories that have been written regarding certain alleged anti-Clinton elements in the FBI.

      As to your other points, I agree with most of them but I think, perhaps inadvertently, you downplay the role of a resurgent alt-right that Trump has normalized in some important ways. Just the other day, I saw a tweet from a mainstream news and election analyst (I forget where from) who listed as one winner in this cycle’s election coverage, saying that it will only get bigger and bigger and more and more important. That is scary domestically, just as your isolationist scenario is scary in foreign policy and nuclear war terms. By the way, I think your scary isolationist scenario is centered in Eastern Europe, where an empowered Trump just might oversee a Russian expansion into NATO-protected territory in the Baltics. That is why the world is freaking out, especially Europe. Here, though, that hardly warrants a mention on nightly news casts or 24 hours of cable coverage.



  3. ansonburlingame

     /  November 7, 2016

    Duane, Jim and Herb,

    First Herb, the one calling for prosecution of Bush ll and now deeming Trump a traitor that perhaps should be prosecuted!!. Hmm? Janet and I watched the old musical 1776 last night with friends, a story of the first Congress that finally passed the Declaration of Independence. In that lengthy debate John Adams was deemed a traitor, by one Mr. Dickenson of Pennsylvania. In fact under British law all the men signing that document were traitors and anyone following their leadership.

    Jim summed it all up stating “Most voters now seem to have little sense of priorities in government, i.e., keeping us out of war and basic healthcare for all citizens.” I am one of those “most voters” in that I find nothing of the sort in our Constitution. It is mute on health care and only dictates the duty of the President, the first and foremost duty is “protect and defend……..”

    I have been awaiting Duane’s summary for this election and what you wrote, Duane, is no surprise at all. If only the Democratic Party had control of the WH, both houses of Congress and a compliant SCOTUS then all would be well, a “disease free” America. Given that absolute control of the federal government then all the 50 million (or so) voters for Trump can be isolated and ignored as “deplorables”, even prosecuted if Herb gets his way.

    Fortunately those Trump voters will still have a say in how we govern America. It is difficult to hear or understand with all the “Trump noise” during the campaign, but conservative ideas still have a voice in American politics. I for one long for a federal government that does whatever it decides to do but DOES IT WELL. No corporation (or individual for that matter) that fails to adhere to its “core competency” will survive very long, particularly with globalization. Pick you work and do it better than anyone else is a great goal for groups and individuals.

    But if groups or individuals try to do “everything”, at least everything that is “popular”, well such people go a “mile wide and an inch deep” and suffer the consequences of failure.

    For sure, Duane, America will need many very healthy white blood cells on Nov 9. Trump himself will be dead meat that day. But other intelligent and thoughtful conservatives will still have a voice to be considered on that day and for two more years afterward. As well campaign 2018 for the Senate and 2020 for the WH will begin that same day.




    • You’re right, Anson. Keeping us out of war and providing healthcare for all citizens is not in the constitution, but I believe they should be priorities for American voters. Are you satisfied as a citizen that large swaths of the population are uninsured for healthcare (fewer since ObamaCare)? Are you satisfied that when medical emergencies occur, people should just rely on the law that says ER’s may not turn anyone away until they are in stable condition? Are you satisfied that the rest of the industrialized world has been able to provide it at about a third of the cost we bear? Well, I’m not.

      As for keeping us out of war, there hasn’t been one that was really necessary since WW II, Korea being possibly excepted. And don’t get me started on the second Iraq war which was not only unnecessary but disastrous to both blood and treasure, not to mention to world peace. The Constitution says that only Congress can declare war. Oops. It takes more than words in the Constitution, it takes leaders who understand history and have a vision that will take us into a better future, not repeat the mistakes of the past.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anson,

      First, you mischaracterized my views. You wrote,

      If only the Democratic Party had control of the WH, both houses of Congress and a compliant SCOTUS then all would be well, a “disease free” America.

      Would to God that Dems win all that, but it would not rid of us a continuing problem with racism and xenophobia and sexism, or any other form of bigotry you want to toss in. I never even remotely suggested it would. In fact, just the opposite. Trump didn’t invent bigotry and demagoguery. He merely got on his golden surfboard and road a big wave, one of many out there still hitting our shores.

      Second, please don’t conflate my views with Herb’s, when it comes to prosecuting President Bush. I’m not on that train. Trump, though, if it is revealed that he actually did directly collude with Russian officials, is fair game for going after legally. You, of all people, should insist on that. Right now, we do not have any evidence he did.

      Third, I disagree with you that it is fortunate that “Trump voters will still have a say in how we govern America.” I may not be able to do anything about the fact that authoritarian-loving Americans, along with cult devotees and bigots (whatever the percentage this represents of his voters), still get to vote, but I don’t have to like it and sure as hell don’t think it is “fortunate.”

      Fourth, you said, “conservative ideas still have a voice in American politics.” You also said, “But other intelligent and thoughtful conservatives will still have a voice to be considered on that day and for two more years afterward.” I suggest you read Bret Stephen’s last post on Trump and conservatism. He’s a hard-core conservative columnist for the WSJ and represents the intellectual side of conservatism, such as it is. He begins with this (in case you can’t get past the paywall, I quote a lot of it):

      Someday, maybe, when I’m old and a child asks me what I remember about the awful election of 2016, I’ll say: It was the Big Reveal.

      Revealed: That the guiding spirit of the modern conservative movement is neither Burke nor Lincoln. It’s Marx. “These are my principles,” Groucho once cracked, “and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.” Everything Republicans once claimed to advocate—entitlement reform, free trade, standing up to dictators, encouraging the march of freedom around the world—turns out to be negotiable and reversible, depending on Donald Trump’s whims and the furies of his base.

      Revealed: That moral clarity and moral equivalence have become interchangeable concepts in today’s GOP. The same Republicans who pontificated throughout the 1990s about restoring honor and dignity to the Oval Office are now eager to rent that office to a man who boasts of his own sexual predations. Why? Because Bill Clintonalready went there.

      Revealed: That Mr. Trump’s unrelenting and apparently irrepressible bigotry, misogyny, bullying and conspiracy-mongering won’t keep Republican leaders from supporting him, provided he mouth pieties about appointing more Scalias to the court or cutting corporate tax rates. “More common ground than disagreement,” was how House Speaker Paul Ryan justified his June endorsement of the GOP nominee, right around the time he described Mr. Trump’s slander of “Mexican” judge Gonzalo Curiel as a “textbook definition of a racist comment.” A smarter response by the speaker might have been: “You lost me at hello.”

      Also revealed: That conservatives who once took umbrage at being called racist or anti-Semitic are now happy to flirt with white nationalism. That a party of self-described strict constructionists sees nothing amiss in Mr. Trump’s call to rewrite the 14th Amendment. That the ability of Mr. Trump and his supporters to hurl insults at their critics is only exceeded by their exquisite sensitivity when they are insulted back. That a reset with Russia is a fiasco when executed by Hillary Clinton but evidence of fresh foreign-policy thinking when proposed by Mr. Trump.

      The bill of particulars could fill the rest of the column. It’s normal that elections make fierce partisans of many of us. It’s normal that Mr. Trump would attract the usual right-wing buffoons to his banners. Normal, also, is that many voters may not be troubled by Mr. Trump’s cruder statements when they hear him addressing their deepest economic and social anxieties.

      What isn’t normal is the ease with which so many conservative leaders, political and intellectual, have prostrated themselves before Mr. Trump simply because he won. In July, Dan Senor, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012, tweeted that he had once commiserated with a Midwestern governor about how unacceptable Mr. Trump was as the GOP nominee. That governor? Mike Pence.

      He ends with this:

      What all this shows is that most conservative intellectuals have proved incapable of self-examination or even simple observation. Donald Trump is a demagogue. Period. The fervor of his crowds recalls Nasser’s Egypt. His convictions are illiberal. His manners are disgusting. His temper is frightening. It ought to have been the job of thoughtful conservatives in this season to point this out, time and again. If they can’t do that, what good are they?

      The point is that Trump crapped all over conservatism and conservatives, and most of the conservative intellectuals opened up wide and swallowed every turd.

      Finally, I never did figure out whether you were voting for Clinton or not. Guess you don’t want to say and you obviously don’t have to, but feel free to make me feel better.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess what bothers me the most about this election is that the two candidates are false equivalents – in the extreme. Trump is just a schoolyard bully who is so arrogant he thinks he can run the school. But Clinton is perhaps the most qualified person to be president ever. She will, after all, be sleeping with a former president. Trump will be sleeping with someone who may not even be in this country legally.

    It is an embarrassment to this country that Trump has gotten as far as he has. He is a loudmouth charlatan, the emperor with no clothes, a misogynistic predator, a xenophobic racist, and, if anyone took a serious look at his supposed business acumen, a fraud and a cheat who has left many a bank swinging in the wind, along with many contractors and employees. For all we know, Trump’s net worth may be near zero. (He may also be a rapist and a pedophile. He’ll be at the pretrial hearing on that charge on December 16th.)

    The Republican party intelligentsia – George Will, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, et al – rang the bell long ago. All five living former presidents say Trump is unfit for office. Fifty or so experts in national security matters, including former heads of CIA, NSA, and Homeland Security have said Trump would be dangerous as president. None of the largest newspapers in the country have endorsed Trump. And many of the most prominent Republicans have said they will vote for Hillary. Then there are the concerns expressed by our international partners about a Trump presidency.

    Yet, in spite of all the overwhelming evidence that Trump would be a danger to this country, not to mention to our democracy, and to what most of us would accept as American values, he is in a virtual dead heat for the highest office in the civilized world! He is a dangerous criminal who would destroy our nation rather than have his ego challenged. (Yes, Anson, I would try this mofo for treason or any other high crimes and misdemeanors in a heartbeat.)

    So, obviously, Trump and Hillary are not even close to being equivalents. It’s said that we can never underestimate the ignorance of the voter. They are the deplorables, millions of them, and they refuse to face the truth. I fear the consequences of such irresponsible and uninformed voters. Just wait till 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Herb,

      When you wrote, “It is an embarrassment to this country that Trump has gotten as far as he has,” I am reminded just how small the world is these days. Most of civilization on this planet will, if Trump loses tonight, breathe for the first time in about two weeks. If he wins, things will begin tomorrow with a world-wide market crash. Americans should remember that the world can see what we’re doing these days. It’s called television and something known as the Internet.

      Also, I should tell you that the rape case has been dropped, at the request of the plaintiff. It was a weird case from the start and it got weirder at the end.

      You named some conservatives who didn’t buy into Trump, but most did. I quoted one, Bret Stephens of the WSJ, who wrote a great column today criticizing conservative intellectuals who let Trump dump all over conservatism because he could “win.”

      Finally, Herb, I agree with you. There are millions of deplorable voters. I don’t know what the percentage of the electorate they represent, but it is still stunningly high, as Trump’s campaign, and the millions upon millions of votes he will receive tonight prove, whether he wins or loses.



  5. ansonburlingame

     /  November 8, 2016

    Herb wrote, “The Republican party intelligentsia – George Will, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, et al – rang the bell long ago.” I agree and indeed respect such men and women. Yet “deplorables” won the day, seemingly some 50 million of so of such men and women, all Americans I assume (people that vote).

    The solution to the great American divide today must be compromise.

    You all know as well as I do that Hillary will NEVER get all she proposes, not even close, unless Dems dominate ALL branches of government, WH,, Congress and SCOTUS. Your only solution to achieve “acceptable” government in America is single party power and nothing less. God help us all if it comes to that as there are one helluva lot of “angry white people” ready and willing to take to the streets to counter the Black and OWS crowds already there.

    I despise Trump and all that he stands for on a personal level. But I grew up in a small farming community with many friends and neighbors living as “tenant farmers”, working themselves to death to provide for family. The idea of “dependency on government” was unheard to them and they would have scoffed at being helped by “charity”. They remained dependent only on themselves and their community of kindred souls.

    Today our nation is filled with a bunch of whining, demanding people expecting government to do more and more for them. I use JFKs words “Ask not ……” in response to them. Health care today meets American “needs” (but certainly not “demands”) but costs some $2.5 Trillion in doing so. Now you tell me how our federal government is going to find the resources to meet American demands for HC to the tune of $3-$4 Trillion each and every year.

    Freedom has always been the watchword of America. But right behind that idea is one termed “the land of the free and home of the brave”. Freedom essentially means making one’s own choices in all matters. When bad choices are made by individuals they become “free” to suffer the consequences of such choices. Instead today people are not at all content with their status in life and blame the government for not doing enough for THEM.

    But there I go again with my conservative thoughts. Enough already. “You guys” are going to win this election for the WH and probably gain a narrow margin in the Senate. And yes, SCOTUS will now return to the days of the “Warren Court”. OK, I can live with that and take my place as an “informed minority”, politically.

    As such I will work “tooth and nail” (at age 74 and beginning to see “the end”) to keep a place for conservative views on financial and geopolitical affairs and try to demand a federal government that recognizes the need to “live within its means” on an annual basis.

    When I associate with grandkids this holiday season I will wonder how they will be able to sustain payments (interest only) to the national debt when such payments begin to rival the amounts equal to or greater than SS and Medicare as we know it today, forget Medicare for All which you ardently support.



    • Anson,

      We’ve argued this many times before, but when you say, “The idea of ‘dependency on government’ was unheard to” your “tenant farmers” and others in your small community, I must remind you that in modern civilization, we are all dependent on government in one way or the other. If nothing else, we are dependent on our government’s military to keep us free. But there is much beyond that, as I have tried to explain for years now. The point is that all of us agree that there should be limitations on the reach of government. Just what those limitations are is what elections are for and they will vary with the election results. But just saying, like a lot of conservatives and libertarians do, that government is “the enemy” is nonsense.

      Also, saying, “Today our nation is filled with a bunch of whining, demanding people expecting government to do more and more for them” reminds me of 2012 all over again. It didn’t’ work then and, as Paul Ryan has found out, it isn’t working in this election (no matter who wins). It is time you guys on the right find a way to talk about Americans who look to government for some help without calling them whiners and (not your word here but a word from the 2012 campaign) “moochers.”

      Finally, I hope your end is very far off and you do enjoy the company of your grandkids this, hopefully, Trump-less holiday season.



  6. ansonburlingame

     /  November 8, 2016

    Pardon the double dipping, but …… I just glanced at the front page of WP after posting the above. Astounding election map was presented showing counties, nationwide, that have voted GOP and DEM in passed elections. Check it out if you can.

    The Red counties, some 2093 of them nationwide, obliterated the Blue counties, some 493 of them. Our civil war emerging today is not at all North vs South any longer. It is rural vs. cities, poor white (deplorabes) vs blacks and hispanics, working class whites vs “academia”, etc. Recall the telecom ads showing wireless coverage in America in red. That color dominates the blue political counties almost in the same extreme. Amazing, to me at least.



    • Anson,

      Yes, that is amazing. But of course the divide is mostly between rural/city/suburb. Race is partly tied to that divide as well. Things have been trending that way since the end of WWII, if not before. And for the record, not all poor white people are deplorables (none of us have said that). Some are just desperate and some are Democrats and some are both. 



  7. Anonymous

     /  November 8, 2016


    “The solution to the great American divide today must be compromise”

    Is compromise exhibited by congressional Republicans refusing to do their duty and vote on a Supreme Court nominee or promising to block the Democratic President’s nominees in the future? Is compromise the threat of impeachment hearings starting immediately upon Clinton’s election? Is compromise the continued e-mail investigations into Clinton despite the FBI’s refusal to bring a case? If a reasonable person could see one damn attempt at compromise by a party that sold it’s soul to the devil(Trump), then compromise might be possible.

    Tell me Anson, did you vote for Koster, the conservative Democrat endorsed by the conservative Missouri Farm Bureau? Hell, even the NRA endorsed him! Koster should win by a landslide if conservatives voted for like-minded, but you watch the vote reflect party lines. I don’t think people are all that different, I think most of us would appreciate a Congress that could compromise and actually get something done. All we have seen the last six years is obstructionism. I fully expect that will continue.


    • Hey, you wrote: “Koster should win by a landslide if conservatives voted for like-minded, but you watch the vote reflect party lines.” I am watching for this myself. One of the most interesting races in the entire country. This race will tell us a lot about whether Missouri’s descent into red state nuttery is reversible in the near future or whether we are doomed for elections to come.


  8. Anonymous

     /  November 9, 2016


    It is with great regret that I inform you that the cancer has metastasized. The prognosis gives the body less than a 20% chance of survival within the year. Make all necessary arrangements at this time with family and finances.


%d bloggers like this: