David Shulman is the latest in the media’s conga line of faceless Republicans and Colin Powell wannabes eager to stick it to GOP primary voters for daring to support the great unwashed vulgarian Donald Trump.
Senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast, a self-described “major U.S. economic forecasting group” that is run out of that university’s Anderson School of Management, Shulman makes a confusing, illogical case for electing Hillary Clinton to the highest office in the land.
To make an argument for Clinton, Shulman has to blatantly distort Trump’s position on immigration while inappropriately attaching significance to comments he made about a specific judge he argues has treated him unfairly. Shulman argues Clinton is the better choice to protect America from Islamic terrorism while ignoring that she spent years at the State Department fostering and shielding it.
Compared with the other 16 candidates who fought for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump “lives on another planet,” he writes. “Simply put, he is not a Republican nor a conservative as we have understood those terms for decades.”
Shulman concedes in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that Clinton is a lying, corrupt, political hack who auctions off her services to the highest bidder but he’s voting for her anyway.
“I will vote for Hillary Clinton in November,” he writes, “knowing full well that she has more baggage than United Airlines and that she would nominate Supreme Court justices that would do violence to the 1st, 2nd and 5th Amendments to the Constitution.”
She flat-out lied about her home-brew server and the classified information on it, thereby imperiling national security. I recognize that she is owned in fee-simple by one of the most reactionary groups in the United States, the public employee unions. Further, I assume that the SVR, the foreign intelligence service of the Russian Federation, will cause to be released documents showing a very unsavory connection between Clinton’s actions as secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation.
But even though Hillary should be behind bars, she’s still better than Trump, he opines.
“Trump believes in only himself,” he writes, attacking the uniquely American idea of the self-made man. “As Khizr Kahn [sic], the Muslim father of a slain U.S. Army captain noted at the Democratic Convention: Trump has ‘sacrificed nothing.’”
For sake of argument, let’s assume having sacrificed is an important quality in a would-be president. So then what exactly has one-percenter Clinton sacrificed? She’s a political animal who has been feeding at the public trough for essentially her entire career. Politics is all she does and she loves it and manages to rake in huge bucks in the process. Most Americans wouldn’t consider someone having so much fun on the job to be sacrificing anything: it’s a dream job that inspires envy.
Shulman’s critique is shallow as if he didn’t put a lot of brain power into it.
If Trump doesn’t qualify as a fascist, he’s still a fascist enabler, he implies:
I’ve argued before that we are in the process of reliving the 1930s. Russian expansionism in the Ukraine is analogous to Hitler’s moves in central Europe, and the rise of antisemitism in Europe today also has a parallel to that dark era. Trump, for his part, echoes the proto-fascist America First movement championed by Charles Lindbergh. He wants to close off America from the rest of the world.
But unlike the America Firsters, Trump’s blathering about international affairs seems rooted in ignorance rather than ideology. He quite simply doesn’t have a clue about foreign policy. He has no advisors of stature, military or diplomatic — no one who can rein in his ‘bromance’ with Russian leader Vladimir Putin or explain to him why we must honor our commitments to NATO.
Clinton, by comparison, “is a tough-minded foreign policy realist who understands the dangers we face in Putinism and Islamist radicalism.”
Shulman is entitled to his opinion but he is not entitled to his own facts.
Putin’s Russia may be cause for concern in the West but it is not analogous – at least not yet – to the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. Putin wants to restore Russia to its former so-called glory but it is not at all clear that he wants his country to lead a global movement as the U.S.S.R. did. Putin’s invasion of Crimea was bad but it’s not on the same level as Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland or Austria or comparable to the two evil empires of the twentieth century sawing Poland in half in 1939.
Perhaps Shulman’s admiration of Clinton is rooted in her botched so-called reset with Russia, her coddling of the mullahs in Tehran, her failure to negotiate a status-of-forces agreement with Iraq, and her decision to set the Islamic world on fire during the Arab Spring. Clinton, by the way, helped Russia gets its hands on huge shipments of uranium and did nothing when President Obama told outgoing then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 to pass on the message to Vladimir Putin to ease up on the missile defense issue until after the election when Obama would “have more flexibility.”
Her only notable accomplishment was setting a new record for most traveled secretary of state, reportedly visiting 112 countries and logging 956,733 air miles in 401 days of travel.
Shulman’s most laughable claims are contained in a single paragraph:
Despite these serious flaws, Clinton believes in America and its values. Trump — who would establish religious tests for immigration and ethnic tests for judges — does not. She is open to the world; Trump is not.
So many untruths are densely packed into so few words.
First, Trump wants a “religious test” for immigration only if you consider Islam to be a religion. As Sebastian Gorka has put it, “Islam is a totalitarian ideology suffused with religion.” Besides, the Constitution does not forbid preventing specific categories of people from entering the country. There is no “rational basis test” in immigration matters. Congress, and some say the president acting alone, has the authority to ban redheads from coming to the U.S. if it chooses to do so.
On Monday, Trump called for “extreme vetting” of prospective immigrants to weed out terrorists and those who sympathize with them. A new test will “screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles,” he said.
Second, Trump has never urged ethnic tests for judges. He veered off on a tangent criticizing one judge in one case of his before the courts saying the man was biased against him because he’s of Mexican ancestry and Trump wants to build a border wall along the Mexico-U.S. boundary. Trump’s comments may have been ill-advised, grating, impolitic or all three but they weren’t racist.
Third, Trump is obviously open to the world. He travels the world and does business with the world. He’s not a xenophobe. He doesn’t hide in a panic room in the Trump Tower. He owns golf courses in Ireland, Scotland, and Dubai, along with real estate in Turkey, Israel, Canada, South Korea, Panama, Mexico, Philippines, and India.
Now, let us examine the values of Hillary Clinton.
Anyone who follows Clinton knows that she is a pathological liar, or as William Safire put it, a “congenital” liar.
She blamed an imaginary “vast right-wing conspiracy” for Bill Clinton’s political troubles related to his serial womanizing. She has a long history of covering up her husband’s peccadilloes and being involved in smear campaigns against women who claim President Clinton sexually assaulted them.
She favors open borders and a mass immigration amnesty to reward illegal aliens who snuck into the country, and she wants it largely to increasing her party’s voting base. She strongly backs the so-called Motor-Voter law that prohibits government officials handling voter registrations from asking if the applicant is a U.S. citizen.
She mocked a senator’s question about the deaths she allowed to happen at U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, by saying “What difference at this point does it make?” She told the decedents’ family members to their faces that the Benghazi attack was caused by an anti-Islam video virtually nobody had seen.
She is a friend of Islamists and she has retained Huma Abedin as a senior aide for years despite Abedin’s intergenerational ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Clinton helped, possibly on the advice of Abedin, to orchestrate the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muammar Qaddafi in Libya to clear the way for Islamofascists to take those countries over. She is just as dishonest as President Obama is about Islam, saying it “is not our adversary” and that “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
Clinton, who adores the racist Black Lives Matter movement that urges the killing of cops, has shared her bizarre, half-baked thoughts on the virtues of gangs saying we need “to have positive gangs.”
Clinton wants to assault both the First and Second Amendments. She wants everyone the FBI is "watching" for a suspected terrorist link to automatically lose their gun rights. She has denigrated free enterprise by saying, “Don't let anybody tell you that it's corporations and businesses that create jobs.” She has wondered aloud “if it’s possible to be a Republican and a Christian at the same time.”
Clinton wants the government to run all aspects of health care. She describes children’s education as a “non-family enterprise” and says those who oppose the federalization of education “do not understand” Common Core.
Clinton has a track record of supporting measures that fuse “education, labor, and health care policies” and use “big data to track and manage the citizenry.” She supports “using education to accomplish national economic planning” and “combining national curriculum mandates with tests that enforce lawmakers’ will on teachers and schools.” She favors dumbing down public schools and using them as social justice indoctrination centers as well as “emphasizing sociopolitical behaviors and attitudes (such as sexuality, separating children and parents by needlessly teaching them differently, and socializing them to go along with the crowd) in the curriculum, not objectively measurable academic knowledge.”
But none of this seems to matter to Shulman.
Sounding like David Brock of Media Matters for America, he whines that the media “should consider boycotting Trump events until he releases his tax returns, like every modern candidate for the presidency.”
Actually, two modern candidates, both Republicans, declined to hand their tax returns over to the media. Richard Nixon refused to release his returns during the 1968 and 1972 election cycles and in 1976 Gerald Ford released only a summary of tax data.
And, by the way, it’s not at all clear that a mainstream media boycott of Trump would necessarily hurt his campaign.
So Shulman ignores the evidence he doesn’t like and puts his faith in an incompetent sociopath instead of a sometimes erratic, eccentric businessman who loves America and means well.
And he glosses over Clinton’s four-decades of lying over and over and over again – even when no advantage seemed to be gained from lying – in the public eye, conceding merely that she “has a problem with the truth.” In that regard “she doesn’t hold a candle to Trump’s prevarications,” he writes without providing evidence.
Unfortunately, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods could not be reached for comment.
Shulman’s blog is not exactly a repository of deep thinking.
On June 3 he swooned over what he called Hillary’s “full throated endorsement of American exceptionalism and the internationalist foreign policy our country has engaged in since the late 1940's.” Clinton did mouth the words “I believe with all my heart that America is an exceptional country” in her June 2 foreign policy speech but there is no indication she understands what the phrase American exceptionalism actually means.
In the address Clinton made it clear she believes the expression means government spending on “infrastructure, education and innovation.” It means reducing “income inequality” and breaking down “barriers of bigotry and discrimination.” And it applies to foreign policy, she said. “America’s network of allies is part of what makes us exceptional,” she said. “And our allies deliver for us every day.”
In a much-heralded 2014 interview with left-winger Jeffrey Goldberg, Clinton tried to differentiate herself from President Obama who had recently summed up his foreign-policy doctrine as “Don’t do stupid shit.”
Clinton rejected the Obama slogan, saying “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” She added her organizing principle was “peace, progress, and prosperity.”
This is not exactly a ringing endorsement of actual American exceptionalism, a noble thing patriots defined long ago.
Charles Murray opines that America is exceptional because four million people in 13 colonies “separated themselves from the world’s greatest power and then invented a new nation from scratch.”
Countries are almost always accidents of history, geography, or ethnicity or a combination of all three, but in Murray’s words the U.S. was “the first nation in the world [to] translate an ideology of individual liberty into a governing creed.”
Murray’s right and Hillary’s wrong.
American exceptionalism is about the Constitution and limited government, which it guarantees. It is about the paramountcy of civil society as opposed to government action. It is about rugged individualism, not about the Left’s welfare handouts, social engineering, and using U.S. troops abroad as babysitters and social workers.
On May 22, Shulman disingenuously compared Trump with President Andrew Jackson, considered by many to be the founder of the Democratic Party. Calling Trump “a new Jacksonian,” he implied Trump was a racist, genocidal, elitist, isolationist.
“Recall that Jackson was the richest man in Tennessee, believed in democracy for white Americans only, supported the ‘tariff of abominations,’ removed the Cherokee Nation from Georgia and Tennessee and though his foreign policy was isolationist he believed that when attacked the U.S. should use the full might of its military to defeat the attacker.”
“This sounds awfully like The Donald,” Shulman adds, seeming to imply that the U.S. should not fight back if attacked.
It needs to be said that Shulman’s L.A. Times op-ed is reminiscent of the work of left-wing elitist Peter Beinart who won’t quite call Trump a fascist but comes awfully close. Something he calls “Trumpism” is for rubes, angry simpletons, and third-rate right-leaning intellectuals starved for attention.
Doing his best Eric Hoffer imitation, Beinart pontificates that:
“Trumpism is not Marxism, whose supposedly scientific theory of history held particular appeal for intellectuals. Even fascism—which grew out of social Darwinism—had a richer intellectual lineage than Trumpism does. But like the men who led those authoritarian movements, Trump offers intellectuals the chance to speak for the energized masses and thus to make themselves relevant beyond their salons. And now, as then, the desire for such relevance is strong enough to make some intellectuals question liberal democracy itself.”
Of course there is no such thing as “Trumpism.” It is not a political philosophy or an ideology, but people like Beinart are so locked into a certain rigid way of thinking and so invested in elements of the status quo that they have difficulty processing novel situations when they arise. If Trump is doing such and such, they reason, there must be an entirely consistent worldview pulsing through his gray matter.
Wrong. Trump is a radical pragmatist who manages to come down on the conservative side more than the liberal side. He’s an opinionated, emotional man who is always full of energy. He enjoys being Donald Trump and all that entails. He sees things through the lens of experience and what he considers to be common sense. He calls ‘em as he sees ‘em. This leads to him changing his mind, as we’ve all seen, a lot.
He’s a scrappy billionaire from humble Queens who, despite an Ivy League education, speaks with an accent some consider unsophisticated. He almost never talks about the Constitution or the Founding Fathers which infuriates many conservative intellectuals who think that he is beneath them.
To paraphrase a line from Senator Gracchus in Gladiator, Trump isn’t exactly a man of the people but he’s definitely a man for the people.
While no Dwight D. Eisenhower, Trump is like Ike in at least one way: Eisenhower didn’t have a completely coherent ideology, at least not in the sense stuffed shirts like Beinart and political scientists use the term.
It was said of the 34th president that “his smile was his philosophy.” According to Evan Thomas, that smile, Ike told his grandson, didn’t come from “some sunny feel-good philosophy but from getting knocked down by a boxing coach at West Point. ‘If you can’t smile when you get up from a knockdown,’ the coach said, ‘you’re never going to lick an opponent.’”
This is true of Trump as well who sees the world in his own sometimes idiosyncratic way. He has won and he has lost, and he really, really hates losing.
No matter what David Shulman says, Donald Trump wants America to win.