SMH

Now that we’re entering the height of the election-year silly season here in the old USofA I find myself shaking my head quite a bit, but not at the candidates. They are politicians, after all, so I expect them to amaze and disappoint me with their character flaws, slips of tongue, dissembling, hyperbolic ranting and all the rest of the unpleasant things that politicians do. No, my head shaking is prompted mostly by other citizens and their reasoning, or lack thereof, when it comes to evaluating the candidates.

The easiest case to point to is what’s going on with the presidential election. Almost everyone is unhappy that they have to pick between Trump and Clinton, and if you ask them many will explain why they’re picking their candidate by detailing why the other candidate is a bigger POS than the one they’re voting for. That’s their right, but I have to tell you that the one argument I have a hard time swallowing is the one I hear from many of my more conservative friends. It goes something like this:

“I really don’t like Trump or Clinton, but I’m gonna vote for Trump because at least he tells it like it is. Clinton’s a criminal – she should be in jail after all that crap with her classified emails – and she’s a liar. And Trump’s a successful deal maker and we need someone like that in the White House at a time like this.”

Believe me, I get not liking Clinton. She’s a truly unlikable candidate for any variety of reasons, not the least of which is her propensity to make everyone think that she thinks she’s better and smarter than everyone else. But what I can’t understand is how these folks think that Trump isn’t a liar or how his business dealings haven’t been as shady as Clinton’s past ventures. The answer is probably that the vast majority of people just haven’t done much research and are accepting talking points being tossed out there by the GOP spin masters or Trump himself.

That’s why I’m hoping this article about the guy who was the ghost writer for Trump’s Art of the Deal gets some serious attention. It’s truly frightening in many ways, and should cause anyone who thinks Trump is somehow a more moral/ethical choice than Clinton to question their own judgment. Here’s just a few samples:

When Schwartz began writing “The Art of the Deal,” he realized that he needed to put an acceptable face on Trump’s loose relationship with the truth. So he concocted an artful euphemism. Writing in Trump’s voice, he explained to the reader, “I play to people’s fantasies. . . . People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and it’s a very effective form of promotion.” Schwartz now disavows the passage. “Deceit,” he told me, is never “innocent.” He added, “ ‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’ ” Trump, he said, loved the phrase…

But Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment…

In “The Art of the Deal,” Trump portrays himself as a warm family man with endless admirers. He praises Ivana’s taste and business skill—“I said you can’t bet against Ivana, and she proved me right.” But Schwartz noticed little warmth or communication between Trump and Ivana, and he later learned that while “The Art of the Deal” was being written Trump began an affair with Marla Maples, who became his second wife. (He divorced Ivana in 1992.) As far as Schwartz could tell, Trump spent very little time with his family and had no close friends. In “The Art of the Deal,” Trump describes Roy Cohn, his personal lawyer, in the warmest terms, calling him “the sort of guy who’d be there at your hospital bed . . . literally standing by you to the death.” Cohn, who in the fifties assisted Senator Joseph McCarthy in his vicious crusade against Communism, was closeted. He felt abandoned by Trump when he became fatally ill from aids, and said, “Donald pisses ice water.” Schwartz says of Trump, “He’d like people when they were helpful, and turn on them when they weren’t. It wasn’t personal. He’s a transactional man—it was all about what you could do for him.”

You should read the full article – it’s truly stunning.

And I’ll leave you with this thought: If we have to vote for an asshole, shouldn’t we at least vote for the most competent asshole? If that’s the case then I truly don’t understand how you can vote for Trump. And if you just can’t stomach Clinton then maybe it’s time to check out Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, or start a write-in campaign. Either of those propositions are better than going with His Hairness.

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