Tag Archives: Trump

Worldview: The word which has empowered propaganda machines of the left and right

Worldview (n.) – a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

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Nothing truer than this.

Worldview is everything in political belief, whether or not we wish to admit it. What dictates beliefs from an ideological standpoint varies widely from person to person. The extremes of both sides of the ideological aisles often fail to see, or choose to be blind to, this fact. What is more bothersome is that many of the things which we hold as truths, as Obi-Wan Kenobi once observed with such eloquence, depends entirely on our point of view or, to use a more modern vernacular, our worldview.

This definitely affects how news and information is approached and received. The notion of “fake news” is not a new concept; President Theodore Roosevelt spoke of reporters who infiltrated sweatshops in America’s Northeast and Midwest in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as “muckrakers.” To him, many of these reporters were simply attempting to sensationalize the conditions, such as those described in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, in an attempt to advance an agenda. Granted, this was largely the case and did achieve historic changes which led to modern health and safety rules in the workplace, but Roosevelt and, more to the point, industrialists directly affected by the changes caused by said articles, regarded these journalists as self-serving do-gooders whose publishers where more concerned about selling newspapers than actually looking out for the national interest. It is very familiar song.

While the journalists of that time were unjustly regarded as parasites, today’s media has created much of its own perception issues, but those problems have also been exacerbated by the proliferation of the sources which cater to one particular worldview. Websites such as RedState, Huffington Post, NewsMax, and Mother Jones were all established with one purpose – activist journalism, which takes legitimate information and manipulates it to advance an agenda, be it conservative or liberal. These websites have become popular, and even trusted, because traditional legacy sources such as network news and periodicals such as Time, Newsweek and USA Today lost sight of their primary mission – to inform the public. Instead, traditional information sources have focused more on the viewpoints of individual writers and “anchors” to “sell the story,” rather than letting the story sell itself.

A great example would be to compare the Trump Administration to the Nixon Administration in terms of media coverage. Today’s media is focused on “pouncing;” attacking what the President does with Twitter, or what his underlings say in press conferences, and picking it apart. The media of the Nixon era was more concerned with receiving information as it was disseminated, analyzing it, and finding inconsistencies. While it was not entirely investigative journalism, the reporters of Nixon’s day focused more on the facts and allowed that administration to create its own worst nightmare; impeachable offenses revealed through a combination of individual hubris and collective administration incompetence. For the Nixon White House, the gaffes of ego committed by the cabal led by both Nixon himself and advisors, such G. Gordon Liddy, did more damage to that President than any newspaper editorial ever could. For Trump’s Administration, the media now appears to be willing patsies in a war of misinformation and blatant ego inflation. Rather than reporting on inconsistencies and obvious conflicts of interests, the media’s obsession with the President’s twitter feed and what his children do in their off hours appears to be stuff of political and editorial vendettas, as opposed to the work of truth-seeking reporters.

During operation Desert Storm in 1992, the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf pulled one of the great distraction moves in modern warfare. He sent coalition forces to the Kuwait border in such numbers to keep the late Saddam Hussein’s forces occupied and obsessed with stopping a direct invasion and then, in a bold move, launched a massive offensive to west of Kuwait, destroying the Iraqi Army’s rear lines. Much of Trump’s campaign and administration’s public relations moves appear to be the same; focus media and public attention away from the more pressing issues of the day by using marketing buzzwords and research to distract the public and media, then working to do things his way without public scrutiny. This sort of distraction is a classic tactic in business – use distraction in negotiations to focus attention on one hot-button issue in order to gain larger concessions on broader matters, and his most vocal, rabid supporters are defending him at every single turn, no matter how questionable his statements on these matters. A good question is why are these voters buying into it, but a better question is how is Trump pulling it off?

The answer is simple; Trump is playing to the fears of his base’s worldview.

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Former Fox host Glenn Beck, who became famous for his conspiracy chalkboards, started his conservative talk career at WFLA-AM in Tampa in 1998.

Many Trump voters share a similar, if not identical, worldview; a collective group of nations, largely Muslim, which seek to destroy the United States by any means necessary. While several of these nations exist, most lack the will or ability to strike even indirectly. In addition, they feel that corporate America is part of a globalist cabal which seeks to destroy the American-Western way of life. Some of these worldviews also put white Anglo-Saxon protestants (so called “WASPs”) at the top of the world pyramid of authority. Others espouse the worldview that Western culture is far superior to any others on Earth – former radio host and libertarian standard-bearer Neal Boortz once famously admitted he was not a racist but a “culturalist,” stating he did believe that Western civilization was superior to all others on Earth and must retain its eminence, and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck was pulled from Fox News when even the heads of the largely conservative-oriented news network got the jitters over Beck’s increasingly conspiratorial claims on his own short-lived TV program.

While these worldviews are often based in personal experience, they can also be based in a facade of nationalism designed to profit from the fears and emotions of those who seek validation of their beliefs and views. It is these individuals, such as conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones and Breitbart head/Trump advisor Scott Bannon, who are the greatest purveyors of convincing misinformation. In Bannon’s case, a reasonable individual can deduce one reason for his practices – packaging propaganda in a veneer of factual data to present in such a way that it’s accepted because it matches the accepted views of those who voted for Trump in the first place and, therefore, emboldens the President to behave in a manner which is to the advantage of both Bannon and those of his ilk.

To many, the media is not reliable because it was the media itself who bought into the notion of not only informing the public, but influencing it to act in accordance with a narrative. Individuals such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Nancy Grace, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews, and even Fox News’ newest crop of hosts are not journalists in the true sense of the world, but commentators using the facts given by genuine reporters to advance an agenda. This is reminiscent of another individual who has used legitimate reporting as a means to advance an agenda – The 700 Club’s Pat Robertson. The controversial conservative minister’s Christian Broadcasting Network, though a reasonably ethical operation on its own, allows its facts to be manipulated for Robertson’s own purposes, mainly fundraising. For this reason, CBN suffers from a heavy dose of “guilt by association,” and is regarded as a less-than-credible outlet for information.

Another example of worldview issues could be found on the other end of the spectrum, BBC News. For years, Britain’s government-owned network was regarded as a go-to source for information from around the world, with strong ethics and a high standard of quality and accuracy. As time went on, BBC’s own anchors became more and more focused on news which portrayed the United States in a less-than-flattering way and, for that reason, aided far-right media types in a campaign to paint the mainstream media as liberal elitists. Unfortunately, this image was only entrenched further when a scandal broke within the BBC’s ranks exposing editorial bias being encouraged and dissent being quashed by network bosses. Those with a worldview of journalists being nosy crusaders only concerned with their career found their views confirmed, and this only served to undermine the media and enhance the position of ideologically-oriented websites which take legitimate information and spin it to suit their needs.

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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, known for her fiery ultra-left views, is considered part of why the network’s ratings continue to languish far behind CNN and Fox News.

So how can we separate the good from the bad, the reliable from the speculative. Critical thinking comes into play here. If something doesn’t an instinctual “smell test,” chances are it is either false or manipulated. Stories about Trump which seem too crazy to be truth tend to be so, just as stories about former President Obama also lean that way. Both sides have websites which focus on fomenting resistance though inflammatory news articles, and both are extremely adept at pointing fingers at the other side while denying stories which they themselves plant. One way to determine the veracity of story is to know the backgrounds of the writers. When one sees the words “activists,” or “political expert” or “left” or “right” in their bio, it is a fairly safe bet that writer has the interests of their cause, not the reader, at heart.

While some ideologically oriented websites have quality informational articles, double checking the information though other mainstream sources is always advised. If even a sliver of the information is accurate, it could point to a much greater situation. Nevertheless, worldview contributes to how we view news, whether we want to admit it or not.

An Alternative Super Bowl Prediction: A Division of the White House-Trumpco

Today is NFL Championship Sunday.  Of course this means the New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship while the Atlanta Falcons host the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship, and 3/4ths of the country will not give a flying crap except to see if their checking account is still intact or has been drained of all discernable life.

I could not go through today without weighing in about this day with the help of my cats.  Max, Annabella, Bentley and Rex have all provided their particular predictions on who will win today’s contest by way of their behaviors which, through my amazing powers of feeding them and changing their litter, will attempt to interpret.

Max:  When I mention the Atlanta Falcons, Max makes a bizarre chirping noise which sounds like a cross between a cricket and dinosaur in mating season.  That would correspond well to the sound a Packers fan makes when they had one too many Miller Lite cans.  Prediction:  Packers win by 3 belches…and a field goal.

Annabella:  My youngest cat has very little idea about football, but she likes bright colors.  Sadly, no team has any bright colors so she goes for the team which tosses the ball around the most.  Prediction:  Falcons lose but throw the ball a lot (which is why they lose.)

Bentley:  My oldest cat really don’t give a flying shit about who wins becuase, as far he’s concerned, they are all genetically inferior to him.  Based on that assessment, we are going to assume he is a Pats fan today.  Prediction:  Patriots win and protests ensue.

Rex:  The weirdest cat we own likes to bark like dog, and that means zilch today.  The Georgia Dome will also be rendered meaningless today, as well the Steelers.  Prediction:  Falcons win and so do the Patriots, and they both jump like little boys and girls around the respective trophies.

Now, my Super Bowl matchup prediction, based on the level of stink in my home after a recently collective crapping by all cats, is the Atlanta Falcons vs. the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI:  Embrace the Stink and Make the NFL Great Again with Alternative Super Bowls.

Have fun and drink one for me.

President Obama’s legacy may be cemented by an asset-turned-liability

Now that the Presidential transition is upon us, a time to reflect on President Obama’s term in office bears mentioning. This is not an examination of his accomplishments or failures but, rather, a critical look at his overall term eight years after being elected the first black President in our nation’s history. The facts speak for themselves, but facts are always open to interpretation.

As an executive, there can be no argument that Barack Obama was vastly different from any of his predecessors. This is not a particular shock to anyone. George W. Bush was very much a delegating sort of executive and fiercely loyal to his advisors. This sometimes served him well but, more often than not, was a source of cannon fodder for his critics. Obama was nothing like George W. Bush in that regard, and that’s just for starters. Where Obama diverged from his predecessors was his desire to be in near constant control of his surroundings. Indeed, a President who is “asleep at the switch” is a danger to himself and others, but Obama’s management style was that of a “micromanager.” Perhaps this is owed to his days as a community organizer in Chicago, where day-to-day minutia is often managed by the very person doing the organizing. After all, a leopard can’t change his spots, so it was foolish for anyone to believe Obama would change his habits. His near obsessive use of a prepared statements and reading from teleprompters was evidence of President who possessed a near-pathological desire to control everything, for good or ill.

Still, Obama’s greatest single failing in his presidency was his greatest asset on the campaign trail; his seeming stoic, “rise above it” attitude. For a Presidential nominee this is a wonderful trait because it allowed him to shrug off attacks and accusations which would demolish the confidence of other candidates. That same attitude does not do so well in the Oval Office, where the ability to empathize with everyday Americans was something he attempted to do, but his cool demeanor was nearly Vulcan-like at times, and turned off much of the electorate, as well as gave his opponents ammunition to pick him apart and find the various weaknesses in his armor. Much to Obama’s credit, there was actually precious little which he lost his temper over publicly – he was usually quite even-keeled at both press conferences and public appearances. There was, however, one area where his emotions boiled to the surface – the issue of race.

There is one thing which I have told people time and again; when Barack Obama was elected, America was ready for a “Black President.” The real problem was that America wasn’t ready for a Black President who advocated for Black America. Some would argue he “acted black,” but the question then becomes “what is the definition of ‘acting black?’” In Obama’s case, racial issues in America were something he was hoping our nation could move past with his election; that the era of racism in America was coming to an end. Instead, several factors came into play which so polarized the nation along racial lines, President Obama simply could not overcome reality, no matter how amount of vision with which he was endowed.

One of the great problems for Obama when it came to race was, again, the very stoicism which served him so well in other areas. When black men such as Trayvon Martin were killed by either police officers and white citizens, Obama was quick to condemn systemic racism within law enforcement agencies such as the one in Ferguson, Missouri, and even unleashed the Justice Department to investigate possible Civil Rights violations. The problem was when confronted with irrefutable evidence of self defense on the part of police, as was the case in Baltimore, or malicious intent admitted by some of the cop killers, or even political negligence for political gain’s sake, Obama remained silent in almost disturbing fashion. It was as though he simply couldn’t come to grips with the possibility that both sides were guilty of bad choices. Yes, the Justice Department’s 9th inning decision to hit the Chicago PD with charges of cultural racial bias may have been well founded and based in legitimate investigation results, but the case of the murders of Georgia officers Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith by a black male with an extensive record, and subsequent social media threats made against the families of the slain officers by both supporters of the murderer and self-proclaimed “activists,” combined with President Obama’s rather muted response to this tragedy, did little to help his legacy as a “transformational President.” If anything, his desire for justice of the black community, however well-intentioned, may have suffered from severe tunnel-vision, and thus damaged his chances of a legacy behind his initial historical achievement from an electoral standpoint. Indeed, even White House reporters admitted to various news organizations that the President seemed to have “checked out” for a while, and some even wondered if the President had felt betrayed by the very nation which elected him.

President Obama’s term in office will likely go down as mediocre rather than transformational. The Republicans in Congress have already taken highly aggressive moves to roll back Obama’s legislative initiatives, and there seems to be no indication that incoming President Donald Trump will be anything more than a rubber stamp with a very loud mouth. Yes, Obama was the President who ordered the operation which ended the life of Osama Bin Laden, and he did take a tough line with Russia over the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, but he also presided over gaffe-laden jobs programs, an economic recovery which took far longer than expected, and was cited by Politifact.com for the 2014 “Lie of the Year” when he said “if you like your doctor, you can keep him,” when speaking about the Affordable Care Act, a claim which later proved impossible. Yes, his aggressive tack against police brutality towards black Americans, particularly males, was historic in its intensity, but his political style also polarized the electorate as never before. While the Republican Party was complicit in many a legislative crisis, it was Obama’s own stoic approach, bordering on the appearance of complete hubris, which may have, fair or not, cemented his legacy not as an unifier or transformer, but as a party apparatchik and “front man” for the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Time will tell what Obama’s real legacy is, but it is very clear that a Donald Trump presidency, if he chooses to avoid the excesses of Andrew Jackson and Warren Harding, could be the true transformer America has wanted, for better or for worse.

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Despite his good intentions with such things as his “shovel ready jobs” program, President Barack Obama’s own stoicism and party-line stubbornness will likely relegate him to the list of mediocre Presidents.

Winter Storm Helena: Semi-Serious, Hour-by-Hour sarcasm

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Shown:  Downtown Birmingham after Winter Storm Helena hits it.  Now Shown:  Alabama fans doing donuts in the snow.

Winter Storm and Warrior Princess Helena is nearing the end of her life, and has taken many a casualty.  According to the National Weather Service and Liberal Extremist Propaganda Arm (now under New Management of Trump Political Enterprises), this particular weather system wreaked havoc on several states as well as the Federated Football Republic of Alabama.  Of course, America’s southeastern news outlets kicked into hyperdrive and began their usual “Breaking News Round the Clock First Coverage You Can Count On” routine.

FRIDAY

8:35 AM:  National Weather Service officials, in conjunction with the Russian News Agency TASS, begins issuing “facty” weather alerts about reports of blizzards hitting areas of Mexico, Idaho and the Andromeda Galaxy.

9:45 AM:  Alabama Governor Bob “Northwood” Bentley, in a move of complete foresight and genuine political vision, opts to receive instead of kickoff the storm.

10:22 AM:  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, upon hearing the choice of his Alabama counterpart, immediately sends Winter Storm Helena to the National Weather Service for booth review, and also alerts the NCAA for possible recruiting violations.

11:11 AM:  Outgoing Alabama offensive coordinator and soon-to-be Florida Atlanta coaching guru extraordinaire Lane Kiffin announces that Winter Storm Helena has delayed his time table for learning organization by “several years.”

11:49 AM:  Georgia DOT officials immediately begin brining all roads and bridges in the Atlanta area.  Alabama DOT officials also begin brining their highways until it’s pointed that pickle juice doesn’t work.

12:45 PM:   Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, exercising extreme intelligence, announces that he will, in fact, be driven home by police escort in his black SUV with blue lights going.  When asked why this was necessary, he refuses comment, but his staff issues a 1,000 word press release about the merits of the Atlanta streetcar’s ice-resistant wheels.

1:18 PM:  Walker County, Georgia officials issue a statement describing the situation in Lafayette as “dire” and “untenable,” until it’s revealed that Bebe Heiskell didn’t actually issue the release, so it’s taken seriously for once.

2:45 PM:  Macon-Bibb County officials, in preparation for the oncoming storm, suddenly remember that I-475 actually runs through their county and maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea to treat the road.

3:18 PM:  Cobb County DOT deploys thousands of gallons of brine solution onto local roads and interstates, but the plan is thrown into disarray when the County Commission is sued for a lack of public hearing in the decision.

4:22 PM:  To the south, in Florida, 19 million residents laugh derisively at the rest of the southeast, then light their grills start the ritual winter cookout season.

5:30 PM:  Birmingham is paralyzed when the Heat Miser vanishes and Jack Frost is found in a drunken state on the campus of the University of Alabama.  Lane Kiffin is blamed for the incident.

6:19 PM:  Every single news outlet east of Tupelo, Mississippi goes into all-out DEFCON 1 alert status.  In Atlanta, five stations interrupt popular programming to issue extremely scary, confusing and “facty” weather bulletins.

7:29 PM:  Fearing a shortage of French Toast as a result of the oncoming storm, Atlanta residents buy up almost 9000% percent of all available bread and eggs.  IHOP futures spike in after-hours syrup pouring.

9:45 PM:  An entire hour of news coverage is lost when Winter Storm Helena stops for a moment, looks at Atlanta, scratches head and asks “which way do I really wanna fuck this city up?”

10:18 PM:  News outlets across Atlanta declare an state of intergalactic emergency and call on the United Federation of Planets to fire photon torpedoes at the to intensify it.

12:00 AM til…

SATURDAY

6 AM:  Something happened overnight resulting in a lot of snow and ice in some areas, and nothing but slush in others.  The Russians are believed to have been behind it all.

8:10 AM:  Donald Trump issues a statement saying that Winter Storm Helena did not actually affect Atlanta and promised to “Make I-285 Great Again.”

9:30 AM:  The Atlanta Falcons announce they are going to actually win their playoff game next week in a news release written by former Men’s Wearhouse CEO George Zimmer saying “you’re gonna like the way we play…we guarantee it!”

10:34 AM:  Everyone goes back to sleep

12:19 PM:  Birmingham officials announce they are shutting down the city and that people need to stay off the roadways – Atlanta drivers immediately flood to the city and jam up interstate highways.

3:02 PM:  Winter Storm Helena sends a text message politicians across the southeast which translated roughly into “you my bitches!”

4:19 PM:  We decide it’s too damned cold out, and we’re fresh outta beer!

5:01 PM:  Levi’s takes over the show.

6:11 PM:  Everyone dials directory assistance asking for the number to their governors to complain.

9:00 PM:  NOBODY knows where their Winter Storm is.

10:52 PM:  Time for a nap and just walked outside and shouted at Mother Nature to take her freaking Xanax!

Clinton’s defeat is a lesson in the Law of Unintended Consequences

President Barack Obama’s term is winding down, and there is much apprehension about President-elect Donald Trump, and a ton of “why’s” about Hillary Clinton’s defeat.  Washington Post writer Christopher Ingraham, in a rather insightful article, focused on – pardon the pun – the political elephant in the room:  those rural white voters who, rather than supporting Donald Trump, flipped to Hillary Clinton, bucking the national demographic trend.  What one voter gave as his reasoning for voting for Hillary was stark – Trump struck him as being like a “bomb,” and hoping Congress holds the new President accountable.  Another voter, Ed Dahle, a retired school teacher in rural Red Lake County, Michigan (61 percent of their citizens voted for Trump), gave the Washington Post an honest, yet brutal, assessment as to why Clinton lost.

“When Hillary was up to speak (during the debates), some of the people just did not feel that ease of conversation,” he said. “They felt there was like a screen or something between them and her. And that’s why so many people turned.” – Retired teacher Ed Dahle, speaking to the Washington Post.

That quote really cuts to the quick of the matter.  Yet there is another factor which many folks simply refuse to acknowledge, and that is that Clinton’s loss may have, indeed, been the result of the Law of Unintended Consequences, particularly President Obama’s administration and governing style.  Obama’s own administration had been reeling from a series of policy gaffes and “activism through inaction” with regards to the wave of attacks on police offers throughout the nation.  Also, many in the media openly lamented how the President seemed to have “checked out” over the past few years, and experts feared Obama’s trademark stoicism was fostering an impression of indifference to the problems faced by rural and working Americans, especially those suffering from skyrocketing health insurance premiums caused by the Affordable Care Act’s numerous provisions and loopholes.  There were also pundits who warned Obama’s body language and attitude towards Republican voters, and even moderate independents who supported him in 2008 and 2012, could badly damage Clinton’s chances of victory.

RELATED:  Right and Left agree – Obama has “checked out.”

In short, President Obama had a historic opportunity as president and, frankly, became Hillary’s own worst enemy.

Let’s be fair; President Obama, beyond his status as the “First Black President,” actually accomplished some pretty impressive things.  Even Trump admitted parts of the Affordable Care Act are useful and must be maintained.  Obama was the President who gave the order to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, and did have a hand in deals to keep General Motors and Chrysler afloat, saving thousands of American jobs.  His administration also maintained or expanded programs to help mortgage holders navigate the troubled waters of the Great Recession, extended unemployment benefits to keep millions out of poverty, and his administration was able to turn the economy around, albeit slowly, to a trend of relative growth, even if it remains sluggish.  His work continued the job of cleaning the Wall Street-produced economic dog poop, which began under former President George W. Bush.  In the hyper-partisan political environment he faced, those things were no small potatoes.

Unfortunately, Obama committed a major error; he surrounded himself with many advisors who were disciples of the Saul Alinsky philosophy of radicalism.  Though Obama’s term began with an inauguration speech reminiscent of the days of JFK’s Camelot, it quickly devolved into an administration steeped in arrogance, leftist ideology, and an impression of condescension towards everyday Americans.  Naming GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who openly campaigned for Obama during his 2008 campaign and dangerously blurred the lines between media objectivity and political activism, as a policy advisor was bad enough (GE had over a billion dollars in government contracts in their interest), but bringing in noted 60s radical Van Jones as another policy advisor further damaged his credibility.  Polarizing figure after polarizing figure visited the White House, and it only solidified the impression, however misguided, many conservatives shad of Obama being a left-wing globalist who didn’t care about mainstream Americans.  Obama’s attitude towards this appeared to be one of “I’m the boss, deal with it,” which only made things worse for him.    In fact, statements made by Obama about Republicans having to “eat your peas” over the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, and statements about being able to bypass Congressional authority through Executive Actions with his statement of “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” further cemented his image as an elitist insider who was completely out of touch with average Americans.

RELATED:  2014 article – Obama speaks about Executive Actions

Then there was the matter of Hillary Clinton being his Secretary of State.

When Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, made Madeline Albright the first female Secretary of State, she was regarded as capable, respected and not a ladder-climbing political elitist and egomaniac.  Albright’s term may not have been the most stellar in American history, but she held a “first woman to…” distinction.  Hillary was not a “first anything,” which absolutely chafed her, and she was determined to show how tough she was as Secretary of State, but that rubbed many international leaders the wrong way, particularly Russia, which accepted Hillary as a matter of course, but took her about as seriously as the Soviet hockey team took the Americans in 1980.  The “reset button” moment between Russian’s Vladimir Putin and Clinton was regarded by many in Moscow as a joke and, for that reason, Hillary later appeared to have been hoodwinked.  Further, Clinton’s reactions and answers at Congressional hearings about the Benghazi attacks, and the subsequent email controversies involving her use of a private email server, further painted her as an out of touch elitist, which dogged her to the very end.

Where President Obama figured into this was a character flaw he suffered from; an extraordinarily awful sense of timing and proportionate response.  Though he may have had myriad good intentions, Obama picked the worst possible times to stay silent or, when he acted, did so with either far too much or far too little authority.  In the case of Clinton, Obama appeared to be protecting a fellow Democrat and heir-apparent to the Oval Office in his lack of action while, it the cases of police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, he appeared too aggressive towards reigning in rogue officers and departments.  When riots hit those and other cities, and later, a rash of murders of police officers hit the nation, his responses (or, in some cases, lack thereof) created an impression, justified or not, of a President enabling a culture of vengeance for what African Americans, and other minorities, suffered over the years.  Despite the historical facts of race relations in America,  Attorney General Eric Holder’s approach, which was portrayed as and, in some ways was, indeed, activist, did little to help Clinton’s campaign. In fact, it is possible that Obama’s own stubborn loyalty to the activists within his cabinet gave Americans the impression he was blinded to, or simply ignored, the greater issue; that his responsibility to maintain calm and the rule of law as President outweighed his personal desire to seek justice for those who had been oppressed and targeted.  Worse still, Obama’s own staff displayed a historic ineptitude with the media.  A President who had the opportunity to bridge the racial and economic divides between Americans instead embraced an open policy of activism and radical transformation.  In short, rather than taking a moderate approach, President Obama went for too much, too fast, too soon.

This did more than just empower Trump supporters, it galvanized them as never thought possible.  Those whom embraced Trump’s bombastic and oft-bigoted rhetoric – did so because of a feeling of his being able to relate to them. Feelings of anger and blind rage over being abandoned by their own country transformed into action, and it led to a movement whose goal was singular in approach – strike back at, and destroy, anything which even carried a stench of political correctness.

The pendulum had begun to swing from one extreme to another.

Now for a dose of uncomfortable reality:  Trump pulled off the greatest marketing ploy since Davey Crockett, packaging himself as a larger-than-life, all-American business hero who could pull the nation out of what supporters felt was a cesspool of moral relativism, liberal softness, and political correctness, and back to the “good ol’ days,” reminiscent of a time when everyone “got their hands dirty” and “knew their place.”  It also, sadly, unified and motivated hate groups and bigots who believed a Trump victory would give them license to act out in their interests and “take back America.”  Hillary’s campaign  approach, which flip-flopped between elitist stoicism and firebrand speeches, some of which sounded more like shrill temper tantrums than cohesive calls to actions, gave Trump an easy target.  Knowing it was in its twilight days, Obama’s own administration seemed to have checked out as much as the President, leading to wise decisions, such as re-investigations of Clinton’s activities while running the State Department, being made at ridiculously bad times for the Democratic nominee.

Clinton’s loss may have also illustrated a cruel irony; that being her defeat was, at least in small part, the unintended consequence of an administration which was in the most out-of-sight, out-of-mind mode anyone had seen since the final days of the Nixon regime.  Had Obama’s cabinet and Hillary’s campaign displayed more tactical wisdom and taken Trump more seriously in the early going that it did, it is very likely Trump might not have even locked down the GOP nomination.  Of course, sadly, hindsight is always 20/20.

It is said it takes at least a generation to even begin a fair assessment of an American President.  Jimmy Carter is regarded as one of the worst, but better than James Buchanan (sorry, if you allowed the nation to fracture into civil war, you will always be at the bottom) and Nixon (you can’t overcome resigning in lieu of impeachment).  Ronald Reagan is listed as among the best, but Abraham Lincoln, FDR and George Washington will always beat him (you can’t beat presidents who held the nation together in its first days, a civil war, or a global conflict against fascism.)  So where will Obama likely end up?  The smart money says somewhere in the upper middle; after Reagan, Ike and Jefferson but well ahead of Clinton, Bush “43”, and Wilson.  He was not the best by a longshot, but far from the worst.  Call him a divider if you will, but so was Hoover, LBJ, Jackson and Nixon.  You can also call him a radical, but so was FDR, Jefferson, and Lincoln in their ways.  What’s required is objectivity and perspective, and that will not be easily achieved for at least a generation.  In the meantime, Obama and Clinton both need to take a long, hard look in their mirrors and ask themselves the classic JFK question.

Rather than what the country did for (or against) them, but what did they truly do for their country.