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Old 19 October 2017, 07:37 PM
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United States George W. Bush’s unmistakable takedown of Trumpism — and Trump

George W. Bush will never be a hero to me. His decision to invade Iraq was not only, in my opinion, vying upon the criminal, but it was a strategic blunder of monumental proportions. And of course, I disagree with him on many other issues, and many of the tactics used by his administration in pursuing their goals.

Which is why it's perhaps even more heartening to look at the speech he made yesterday. While he never mentioned the current occupant of the White House by name, he had some things to say about the current political climate:

Quote:
  • “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
  • “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism.”
  • “We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. . . . Argument turns too easily into animosity.”
  • “It means that bigotry and white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed, and it means the very identity of our nation depends on passing along civic ideals.”
  • “Bullying and prejudice in our public life … provides permission for cruelty and bigotry.”
  • “The only way to pass along civic values is to live up to them.”
If even that knot-head can figure this out, I hope it's a sign of a turning tide.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.c5130a0b2de2
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  #2  
Old 19 October 2017, 09:27 PM
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On the flip side, he has no more elections to win, so he can say what he wants. When a major Republican that still wants to remain in office starts to say something similar, or to act like Sen. Corker, then I will think that maybe the tide is turning.
Good for Bush, here. But the Republican Party needs to stand up for these same things.
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Old 19 October 2017, 10:42 PM
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Admittedly, I have not heard or read the speech, but with the exception of the nationalism/nativism statement*, I think Trump supporters would heartily agree with all of those statements (applying the negative parts to the left and the media, and casting themselves as victims).

I think if you want to call Trump and his administration out in a way that is not just a dog whistle to the left, you actually need to name names. I'm not giving credit to Republicans who say just enough to be able to point back to it and say, "see, I spoke against him," but are holding back enough that, in the moment, they can say, "I wasn't talking about you."

* Actually, I think there's a way they could read even that one where they are the victims of the distortion.
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Old 20 October 2017, 01:19 AM
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One could. Except that Bush very pointedly did not offer critique of the Obama administration and was vocal in his hope that Obama would have a successful presidency. I do think it's odd that Bush hasn't named names when I believe it is clear what he thinks. Maybe he's working up to that; I don't know.

The white supremacy thing, though--surely that doesn't apply to the left even in the weird contortions of imagination?
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Old 20 October 2017, 02:40 AM
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You never thought there’d ever be a president that would make everyone fondly nostalgic for Bush II, yet here we are.

Though while George W. was terrible and we mustn’t forget it, at the same time, he does seem to care about something besides himself. For all his faults, Bush II probably loves his family and loves his country. He may have done a terrible job as president, but he did care about the job and tried to do it right. He did a terrible job, but he cared enough to try.

Whereas Trump does not care about anything but Donald Trump.
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Old 20 October 2017, 02:59 AM
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"He did a terrible job, but he cared enough to try" could also apply to Jimmy Carter. It's a much more challenging job than I think any candidate really understands, especially those who came from governorships rather than some other position in Washington--or in the current case, from no public service experience whatsoever.

In the case of Bush, he should have chosen a different VP and we might not have had quite so many problems.

But one thing Bush always wanted--I think truly--was a united country. He sought compromises that made everyone unhappy in a futile quest to appease all at times (see: stem cell research). Trump wants division, and compromises nothing. And if we are ever free of him while he's still living, you can just bet he won't hold to the "not criticizing the office holder after you're gone" tradition.

I think all the presidents we have had in my life before this one did think they were doing good for the country and wanted that. This one wants what is good for himself and sees nothing else as valid.
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Old 20 October 2017, 03:15 AM
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I did not like him as a president. But he and his family are decent people - really good people. They did a lot of things that I will remember, especially for civil rights. They did some terrible things as well but when he does something like this it makes me want to remember him for some of the good things.
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Old 20 October 2017, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
The white supremacy thing, though--surely that doesn't apply to the left even in the weird contortions of imagination?
If I type "liberals a" into Google, the first thing it auto completes is "liberals are racist". There is absolutely a strain of thought on the right that liberals are the real racists, because they want to coddle minorities, while conservatives want everyone to be treated the same*. So, yeah, there are absolutely contortions that can be made so that one can believe that the left are the true white supremacists.

*as they always have been, with white people at an advantage.
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  #9  
Old 20 October 2017, 02:28 PM
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I have certainly heard/read people suggesting that it is racist even to acknowledge race.

ETA: And specifically that Barack Obama created racial division by talking about race (and, although they don't say this part out loud, by being president while black).
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  #10  
Old 20 October 2017, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
One could. Except that Bush very pointedly did not offer critique of the Obama administration and was vocal in his hope that Obama would have a successful presidency. I do think it's odd that Bush hasn't named names when I believe it is clear what he thinks. Maybe he's working up to that; I don't know.

The white supremacy thing, though--surely that doesn't apply to the left even in the weird contortions of imagination?
I am not saying that I think he means it a different way. And I know he didn't speak against Obama. But I'm saying Trump supporters, and even Trump, may not hear any of this speech as critical of Trump. The white supremacy statement is, I think, easy to read as applying equally to overt racism "on both sides." And even most of the white supremacists in Trump's camp don't call themselves that--they think they've been downtrodden by minorities and racist liberals, and they are just wanting their equal rights as European-Americans.

I also don't think there is any criticism of Trump that will change his behavior in any substantial way. (There may be ways to manipulate his behavior, but it won't be with honest criticism.). I think people with GOP influence need to give speeches like this, and call out the other GOP leaders that are going along with it, not standing up to him, and not speaking out against it.
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Old 20 October 2017, 03:24 PM
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While there are certainly many Trump supporters who will see it as criticism of the left, it seems like there are also many Trump supporters who will see it as further proof that the Republican party and/or government has betrayed them and that they are correct in supporting a President that is supposedly undoing all of that.
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  #12  
Old 20 October 2017, 04:04 PM
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Yes, that's true too. For some people, Trump has tapped into a tremendous emotional need, and is satisfying that need. People will rationalize their support for him using whatever reason seems convenient. They will also readily shift to other "reasons" if pushed on the illogic of their stated ones (or become angry or dismissive to disengage). Even someone who was an ardent W supporter might dismiss him as no longer relevant, or a tool of the corrupt GOP establishment, etc. to resolve the cognitive dissonance.
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  #13  
Old 20 October 2017, 06:15 PM
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There is also a view held by some on the right that liberals are deliberately trying to create an economy where blacks, in particular, are dependent on government assistance, and will therefore keep supporting Democrats -- i.e., liberals don't want blacks to actually get good jobs and prosper, because they might then turn into Republicans. (And of course they'll pull out the old "the KKK was formed by Democrats! Republicans supported the Civil Rights Act!" business...yeah, I'm sure all those people waving Confederate flags at rallies voted for Hillary, right?)

I absolutely have problems with Bush 2 (I actually thought his father wasn't bad at all -- certainly the best Republican president of my own lifetime, anyway), but yes, I think he was at least somewhat sincere in his desire for a better country for everyone. One of the parts of the film Fahrenheit 9/11 that I took exception to was the strong implication that the Bush clan are basically just puppets of the Saudi royal family.
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  #14  
Old 20 October 2017, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Yes, that's true too. For some people, Trump has tapped into a tremendous emotional need, and is satisfying that need. People will rationalize their support for him using whatever reason seems convenient. They will also readily shift to other "reasons" if pushed on the illogic of their stated ones (or become angry or dismissive to disengage). Even someone who was an ardent W supporter might dismiss him as no longer relevant, or a tool of the corrupt GOP establishment, etc. to resolve the cognitive dissonance.
I think the bolded part explains things pretty well. Basically, ~35% of the US population are idiots. (Sorry, but there really is no other way to describe Trump supporters.**) The key question is if the idiocy is transient or permanent.

** Just as an example, Trump says that the proposed new tax code will hurt him but he thinks it is best for the country. His supporters believe him. The new tax code will drop inheritance tax which, if you believe Trump's claims to wealth, is worth about $1.5 Billion to his family. There really is no other way to characterize anyone that believes or supports him other than "idiot".
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Old 20 October 2017, 11:14 PM
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I actually think the bolded part is *the* key to understanding Trump's support, and that it has only a slight link to a lack of intelligence. It's called motivated reasoning, and we all do it sometimes. Combating it in oneself requires the ability to have insight into one's own emotional state, (not a matter of intelligence) and a willingness to reexamine one's deeply held beliefs (might require a certain threshold of intelligence, but not a very high one).

And our most illogically based/motivated beliefs are probably the ones we are least likely to honestly examine, or even be capable of examining honestly.
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Old 21 October 2017, 02:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
"He did a terrible job, but he cared enough to try" could also apply to Jimmy Carter. It's a much more challenging job than I think any candidate really understands, especially those who came from governorships rather than some other position in Washington--or in the current case, from no public service experience whatsoever.
Didn't know that Jimmy Carter was a terrible president, but then again, it's not an era I know a lot about. I still wonder how much of the problems stemmed from the Massive Nixon-Induced hangover we were still reeling from.

I had just used Jimmy Carter as proof that for all this talk about how people think the president should be a good leader with strong morals, it's actually BS. Jimmy Carter was quite possibly the nicest, most moral human being ever elected to the presidency, yet they couldn't wait to throw him out of office.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Yes, that's true too. For some people, Trump has tapped into a tremendous emotional need, and is satisfying that need. People will rationalize their support for him using whatever reason seems convenient. They will also readily shift to other "reasons" if pushed on the illogic of their stated ones (or become angry or dismissive to disengage). Even someone who was an ardent W supporter might dismiss him as no longer relevant, or a tool of the corrupt GOP establishment, etc. to resolve the cognitive dissonance.
I'm still trying to work out all how exactly Trump is different from the rest of the so-called corrupt GOP establishment. He's just as in favor of fellating the rich and killing brown people as the rest of the party; he just doesn't bother with the dogwhistles and flat-out states what he and most of the GOP, believes.

How exactly did Trump get turned into the populist candidate speaking out on behalf of the working class? I sometimes wonder if there isn't some kind of classist element to all this. Despite what the media would have you believe, the majority of the working class went for Hillary, whereas Trump's demographic was made up more of the White and Wealthy.

I'm probably reading too much into it, but I find myself wondering if this spin where Trump gets cast as the populist champion of the working class, is the wealthy elites' way of distancing themselves from this mess. When things go south, they can blame the dumb poor people. Then they'll make a quick getaway, because money buys a lot of things, including escape hatches.

I should probably stop referencing that G.K. Chesterton quote, but it is so apt. No matter how badly Trump screws the pooch, he will likely be able to buy his way out of trouble, move to another country, and start all over again, while everyone else is left behind to clean up his mess.

About the only objection I have to the Chesterton quote, is the label "anarchism." Whatever faults you may have with anarchist ideology, the vast majority, regardless of what subgroup they identify, are opposed to institutionalized racism, sexism, or any -ism that keeps people from living and expressing their true selves.

If whatever apocalyptic scenario came to pass, most anarchists would admit that civilization would still exist, but it would be on a smaller tribal band level, with said tribes occasionally coming together to form Iroquois Confederacy-style alliances. There would still be law and order, which the tribe would debate and enforce how they see fit.

Whereas Trump and Co., if they are a form of anarchism, it's a nasty, spoiled variety where they have no problem with institutionalized -isms or law and order, so long as none of it applies to them. After all, they are so much more evolved and intelligent than those lower beings, so why not?
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  #17  
Old 21 October 2017, 10:09 AM
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I'm trying to be welcoming of anybody willing to speak out, but...this might be too much for me. It's the "conspiracy theories and fabrications" part that I find most galling. Trump's conspiracy theories and fabrications are terrible but they haven't yet cost us two trillion dollars or killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
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  #18  
Old 21 October 2017, 03:19 PM
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Default George W. Bush Warns Of Rise Of Conspiracy Theories

Ouch. And lord_feldon swoops in with the buzz kill. True.

Or, as a commenter in the Onion put it:
https://www.theonion.com/george-w-bu...ies-1819725246
Quote:
“As an architect of an illegal war waged over fabricated evidence, I’ll grant that Bush is something of an expert on this subject.” -- Bob Levegh, ATV Crash Tester
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  #19  
Old 21 October 2017, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
Didn't know that Jimmy Carter was a terrible president, but then again, it's not an era I know a lot about.
...
A legacy from the Carter administration is the Camp David accord. I can't imagine what the middle east would look like now without a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. I'm not sure why this is not more widely acknowledged.

Whereas a legacy from Bush II is the second Iraq war...

Nick
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Old 21 October 2017, 08:07 PM
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A legacy from the Carter administration is the Camp David accord. I can't imagine what the middle east would look like now without a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. I'm not sure why this is not more widely acknowledged.
I think it's in part because of Reagan: he ran a pretty heavy smear campaign on Carter and focused everything on the Iran Hostage Crisis (and there's some rumors that he worked to sabotage Carter's negotiations, too).
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