Debate Night in America

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Monday night, the world watched an adult female, who had spent time and effort preparing for an important meeting with her opponent, debate a petulant, unprepared child who eschewed preparation, relying instead on interruptions, one-liners, and lies. 

As the American right hastens its march to the depths of anti-intellectualism, it now denigrates hard work and preparation, likening it to “cheating”. Donald Trump’s embarrassingly cringe-worthy debate performance probably didn’t move the needle for him. With his rudeness, condescension, and incomprehensible word salad, he behaved like any similarly situated D student with disciplinary issues might. On the C-Span split screen – which was devoid of vapid anchors and hot takes – Secretary Clinton appeared calm, poised, professional – Presidential. She took the hits and interruptions with a smile. Understanding Trump’s brand of domination politics, she wouldn’t refer to him the way all of his sycophants are likely instructed to on their non-disclosure forms, “Mr. Trump”. She called him Donald, and the more she got into his head, he dropped the faux-respectful “Secretary Clinton” in favor of dismissive pronouns. The candidates didn’t need to play to their respective bases – they’re chasing after undecided voters in swing states, and Clinton was the better salesperson. Here’s a chart recording his interruptions: 

He sounded okay when discussing trade deals, if ranting repetitiveness is your jam. But when the topic turned to race relations and temperament, Clinton was as cogent as Trump was weak. Clinton went after Trump for what she termed the “racist birther” issue, and it hit him hard, knocking him far off-balance. There were no raucous audiences to cheer him on, there was no array of right-wing demagogues for Trump to insult and demean – just one smart, prepared woman who was ready, willing, and able to hit back. President Obama released his long-form birth certificate in 2011, and Trump didn’t stop until August 2016 – for that he offered African-Americans, “nothing“. Trump never denied Clinton’s charge that he paid “no taxes”, ranting instead about how the government spends them in a way he dislikes, and claiming he’s “smart”. 

When asked what he meant when he said Secretary Clinton lacks a “presidential look”, Trump said he meant she doesn’t have stamina, all the while audibly sniffing, pounding back glasses of water, and losing his cool at the slightest provocation. When confronted on his refusal to release his tax returns, he got a cheer from his audience partisans when he said he’d do it, even against his “lawyer’s advice”, when Secretary Clinton releases the 33,000 emails she deleted. Maybe Clinton should demand that Trump then produce proof that he’s actually under audit – he keeps saying it, but doesn’t uphold for himself the standard he sets for everyone else. 

Meanwhile, the Clintons have released 30+ years’ worth of tax releases, and Trump is the first candidate in modern times to refuse to release any. I wonder why a lawyer is advising him not to show them? 

The most effective part of Clinton’s presentation, however, was after a particularly ugly and ill-informed swipe Donald Trump took at our friends and allies in various military alliances – Germany and Japan, in particular. He insulted them as deadbeats whom America shouldn’t protect if they won’t pay for the protection. Clinton didn’t respond to Trump, looking instead at the camera and reassuring our friends and allies around the world that she knows the election has caused them a lot of consternation, but that they can be sure that America will uphold its commitments under our various military alliances, then reminded Trump that the only time NATO invoked its mutual self-defense clause under Article 5 of the treaty was after September 11th, and our NATO allies continue to fight terrorism around the world. 

Trump? “I haven’t given a lot of thought to NATO”, he said before launching into his spiel about how the other members need to pay up. 

Clinton also came prepared with the story of Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe from Venezuela, whom Trump had derided as “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping”. 

If “telling it like it is” means being unable to handle 90 minutes’ worth of predictable questioning from a network anchor, and coming across as a ranting, lying lunatic, then I guess Trump’s base came away satisfied with his performance. But if you think being President is an important job that demands thought, good temperament, information, and preparedness, then there’s only one candidate who showed up Monday night to meet that standard. Amazingly enough, being President is more complex than calling in to “Fox and Friends”.

The War on Diplomacy

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Ironic, isn’t it?

Generally speaking, diplomacy and negotiation is a pretty good way for independent and sovereign nation-states to resolve differences. More importantly, however, diplomacy and treaties help to prevent war. War should be a last resort, not a foreign policy tactic. Our misadventure in Iraq stands as an example of how stupid it can be to rush to war. Invading Iraq, removing Saddam Hussein from power, and occupying that cobbled-together multiethnic, multi-sectarian state had absolutely no positive impact on regional security.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

Nowadays, most especially since President Obama’s election, any sort of diplomacy is seen as Chamberlain ceding the Sudetenland to Hitler at Munich; appeasement.

Right now, six nations are negotiating a comprehensive deal with Iran to ensure that this regional sponsor of terrorism cannot develop nuclear weapons. Generally, Republicans who don’t trust President Obama might at least be heartened by the fact that Britain’s Conservative PM and Germany’s CDU Chancellor Angela Merkel are at the table with the US, France, Russia, and China. But negotiation and diplomacy are now considered appeasement.

Never mind that the absence of a deal between the permanent members of the UN’s Security Council plus Germany will free Iran to develop whatever nuclear weapons it wants under the quickest timeline it can possibly muster. Negotiating a deal with Iran with a strong inspections regime can ensure that Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons that it could use against our friends in the region. But negotiation and diplomacy are now considered appasement.

Never mind that Iran is simultaneously funding and supporting militant Shi’a groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, it’s also helping our allies fight Daesh in Iraq. It’s an unlikely alliance, but the enemy of our enemy is often our friend. But negotiation and diplomacy are now considered appeasement.

Never mind there’s no deal finalized yet, and we don’t exactly know what the outlines of any putative deal might be. Never mind that, for all its faults, a thaw in relations with Iran could have very positive effects for both countries and the region. Iran has been crippled by international sanctions imposed at the UN to halt its nuclear ambitions; it has a palpable incentive to negotiate in good faith. But negotiation and diplomacy are now considered appeasement.

Forty-seven Republican Senators signed an unprecedented communication to Iran’s government, offering up a big middle finger to President Obama and a condescending lecture about our Constitution, indicating that President Obama has no authority to negotiate and conclude any deal with Iran and our four negotiating partners. To so blatantly and openly undermine a President who is in the middle of negotiating a multilateral deal with our partners. Labour isn’t undermining David Cameron, and the SDP isn’t undermining Angela Merkel. The Republicans’ hatred and disrespect for President Obama is so strong that it vastly outweighs their love of this country.  These 47 lawmakers would weaken the US to embarrass the President.

What have they accomplished with their letter? Nothing. The President – rightly – accused these Republicans of aliging themselves with Iranian hard-liners who also want no deal, so they can be free to develop whatever weapons they want. Do these 47 Republicans prefer war – possibly nuclear war – with Iran rather than a deal preventing war? The Iranian Foreign Minister called it what it was – a propaganda ploy to kill any deal, regardless of what it might contain.

Vice President Biden wrote,

In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country—much less a longtime foreign adversary— that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments—a message that is as false as it is dangerous.

The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine.

Many have accused these 47 Republicans of violating the “Logan Act”, a piece of legislation from 1799, which reads in relevant part:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

But even as a political ploy, how is this different from the recent efforts to link funding of the Department of Homeland Security with a shutting down of President Obama’s recent immigration policy initiative? The GOP might have the majority in the Senate, but not a veto-proof one, and by so egregiously undermining a President whose administration is in the middle of negotiating a deal with our partners and Iran, it ensures that the issue is now politicized and they’ll never get Democrats on board to help them.

A senior American official said the letter probably would not stop an agreement from being reached, but could make it harder to blame Iran if the talks fail. “The problem is if there is not an agreement, the perception of who is at fault is critically important to our ability to maintain pressure, and this type of thing would likely be used by the Iranians in that scenario,” said the official, who spoke anonymously to discuss the negotiations.

The White House and congressional Democrats expressed outrage, calling the letter an unprecedented violation of the tradition of leaving politics at the water’s edge. Republicans said that by styling it as an “open letter,” it was akin to a statement, not an overt intervention in the talks.

Congressional Republican hatred of the President outweighs love of country. Republican hatred of Obama is more important a policy goal than an international deal ensuring that Iran can’t develop a nuclear weapon. The deal sunsets in 10 years? What would prevent these world powers from negotiating something permanent down the road?

Preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is a bipartisan goal. Pre-rejecting a deal that doesn’t exist is counterproductive and stupid, and undermines the President and makes the US seem like an untrustworthy bad actor that lurches around like a banana republic. It’s stupid because it’s bad politics, bad policy, and an ugly precedent to set. Hey, good job taking the “Hillary Clinton E-Mail” story off the front page, Republicans!

The real appeasement would be to abandon these negotiations and simply free Iran up to develop nuclear weapons. The only reasonable conclusion one can draw from this “open letter” is that at least 47 Republican Senators prefer to go to war against Iran. The war on diplomacy has got to end.

Obama Channels Presidents Romney and Gingrich

In 2012, Mitt Romney told Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin that by the end of his first Presidential term (i.e., 2016), he would get the unemployment rate “down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower”:

HALPERIN: Would you like to be more specific about what the unemployment rate would be like at the end of your first year?
ROMNEY: I cannot predict precisely what the rate would be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by a virtue of the polices that we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower.

He later went on Fox News to repeat his promise, and added,

“People all across the country are saying, ‘Wow, 6 percent sounds pretty good,’”

Mitt Romney lost. So, how did the unemployment rate do under Marxist Fascist n0bummer?

Well, consider this:

1. During George W. Bush’s second term, the US saw a net loss of 671,000 jobs. So far, in President Obama’s second term, the U.S. has a net gain of 4,784,000 jobs.

2. Friday’s jobs report showed 321,000 new jobs, and 91% of them were not in health care, showing that other sectors are showing signs of growth, confidence, and improvement.

3. Here’s how employment has gone, starting with the 2008 Bush economic collapse:

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Courtesy @ddiamond

In 2012, President Newt Gingrich blamed President Obama for high gas prices, claiming that he had a plan to bring prices at the pump at or below $2.50/gallon. Just about anyone with a brain dismissed Gingrich’s promise as utter nonsense. The President has no power over global oil prices, much less the cartel of oil producing nations. The price of gasoline had climbed during the last decade with turmoil and supply disruptions arising out of the Iraq war, and was exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina, which took a huge chunk of America’s refining capacity offline. Gas prices plummeted in late 2008 / early 2009 thanks to the global economic downturn, but oil prices soon rebounded and until recently had been north of $100/bbl.

But OPEC leaders recently were unable to agree on production cuts to prop up the price of oil, and prices have plummeted – both crude and at the pump. The average price for a gallon of gas right now is reaching $2.50 nationally.

 

Of course, when you compare the national average to Buffalo, you get higher spikes locally, and much slower responses to drops in prices.

Even if you compare us to Rochester, it’s evident that Buffalo seems to be taken advantage of.

I don’t think it’s because we’re at the end of some pipeline, and it can’t be taxes. It’s something else, and it’d be nice if someone figured out what.

But if you look at the national average, Gingrich’s dopey promise is coming true. The national average for a price of a gallon of gas is close to $2.50, and that’s under President n0bama.

So, thankfully we didn’t have to do a thing – the economy has been making improvements in spite of Congressional gridlock and malfeasance, such as the 2013 shutdown. The price of gas has fallen in recent months because of things that have happened in the global marketplace, rather than by Presidential fiat.

As consumers find they pay less to fill up cars that are now significantly more fuel efficient than 20 years ago – the average MPG has jumped from 20 to 25 just since 2007 – that’s money back in their pockets and helps to stimulate other spending. American crude oil production has skyrocketed since Obama took office, thanks in large part to shale oil (not to be confused with hydrofracking, which produces natural gas).

So, more efficient cars help to lower demand, and a combination of increased domestic production, and OPEC stalemate help to keep supplies high, and even with a rebounding domestic economy, we’re seeing gas prices come down to Gingrichian levels.

The current unemployment rate is 5.8%, which outperforms what Mr. Romney promised might happen under him by 2016. December’s jobs report represented the 10th straight month of job gains surpassing 200,000.

Thanks, President Obama!

Horses and Bayonets on the Morrow

In debate the first, Alpha Romney showed up and stylistically, if not factually, defeated a sleepy Obama. In debate two, electric boogaloo, Romney and Obama both came to the knife fight with guns a-blazing. 

Last night, in debate number three, Alpha Obama went on offense against a stammering, sweaty Romney who, at times, seemed as if Sarah Palin had helped with debate prep. When Obama criticized Romney’s incoherence on various foreign policy matters, Romney whined, “attacking me is not a plan”. It was repeated at least twice, and sounded weak, sorrowful, and pathetic. Obama’s cross-examination of Romney on his prior inconsistent statements was effective and decidedly well-hinged.

For instance, at the first debate, Romney had complained that the 2014 deadline to leave Afghanistan was something he agreed with, except insofar as it telegraphs to our enemy that all bets are off after that. It’s a disingenuous weasel answer, and one that Romney completely abandoned last night, instead claiming to back the 2014 date. From TPM, Obama

You said that first we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan, then you said we should. Now you say maybe or it depends. Which means not only were you wrong, but you were confused and sending mixed messages to our troops and allies.

In 2008, Romney said we shouldn’t move “heaven and earth” to get Osama bin Laden, and that we should first ask Pakistan for permission.  Obama recounted meeting the daughter of a 9/11 victim, which reaffirmed to him that moving heaven and earth was exactly the right thing to do; “worth it”, 

“[Y]ou said we shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get one man,” Obama said. “If we would have asked Pakistan for permission, we wouldn’t have got him.”

On Russia: 

“I’m glad that you recognize al Qaeda is a threat. Because a few months ago when you were asked the biggest threat facing America, you said Russia,” Obama said. “The Cold War has been over for 20 years. But governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.”

Later Obama said directly to Romney, “You indicated that we shouldn’t be passing nuclear treaties with Russia, despite the fact that 71 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted for it.”

Romney repeatedly claimed to be the candidate of peace – he rebutted the elimination of Osama bin Laden with “we can’t kill our way out of this mess“. Romney tried to attack Obama from the left on this, and everything about it reeked of phoniness. The guy who has John Bolton on his foreign policy team isn’t the McGovernesque peace candidate.  On Iran, Romney actually suggested that some unnamed “world court” indict Ahmadinejad for genocide. That’s nice, but the United States has nothing whatsoever to do with the International Criminal Tribunal. And how does that jibe with the Republican anti-world-government, anti-UN, US must do everything mantras? It’s a desperate ploy by a desperate candidate. 

If, at the foreign policy debate, Romney can get no traction on his Libya attacks, he’s lost. 

Throughout the night, Alpha Obama was the calm, rational, factual counterpoint to Romney’s rushed stream of consciousness. He also gave Romney nary an inch to repeat falsehoods or reinvent history. Obama pre-empted Romney’s predictable attacks about Israel with yet another “Libya moment”. One of Romney’s clumsiest attacks was to accuse Obama of weakening our military by pointing out that the Navy has fewer “ships” now than it did in 1916(!). Obama snarkily obliterated that argument, and it was a highlight of the night – a “you’re no Jack Kennedy” moment. 

Funny aside – someone on Facebook mentioned that Fox News “fact-checked” the assertion that the military doesn’t use bayonets anymore by pointing out that Marines have them. Except for the fact that the President said “fewer”, not “none”. Now we’re fact-checking deliberately false fact-checking. 

But except when they veered to domestic policy issues that are swing-state friendly, it was astonishing just how much Romney agreed with every foreign policy thing Obama’s doing, or has done. He liked everything! Romney was reduced to using long strings of words to say he’d do exactly the same thing, only perhaps louder or faster. 

In their closing arguments, Obama pivoted back to hope and staying on a path to move forward, rather than back. Romney did his best Reagan impression, but ended up sounding and looking more like a more WASPy Billy Fucillo, who really wants to see you in this purple Hyundai with low miles and EZ-terms. 

Some highlights: 

In response to Romney’s accusation about an “apology tour” where Obama purportedly ignored Israel. This was quite the Libya moment. Please proceed, Governor:

Closing with hope :

What Romney Considers to be “Better”

Mitt Romney - The Shake-N-Fake Candidate

By Flickr User DonkeyHotey

1. After sweeping the Tuesday once known as “super”, and effectively all-but-securing the Republican nomination for President, Mitt Romney took out his Etch-a-Sketch and made his first attempt to erase Mitt Romney as “Severe Conservative” and create Mitt Romney as “Paternal anti-Socialist Optimist.” His campaign theme, which until Tuesday had been, “I am just as insane a right-winger as Santorum, and just as unscrupulous a corrupt Washington insider as Gingrich” switched to “A Better America”. 

Aside from being a rip-off of the prospective hopefulness of the Obama 2008 campaign, imagine the right-wing response had Obama selected that phrase for his slogan. “Better?! N0bama thinks America is no good!” and other disingenuous cries echoing jingoistic American exceptionalism.

After all, no other post-industrial market economy with a pluralistic representative democracy exports jobs, votes against their own interests, coddles millionaires, and becomes bogged down in Asian quagmires like the United States of America. 

Romney has barely uttered a word about what he’d do as President – not publicly, anyway. Suffice it to say that a guy who’s never been in the middle class has absolutely no idea how to fix the problems ailing America’s middle class, nor does he likely care. The middle class don’t cut massive checks to friendly SuperPACs or max out to the Romney campaign.

So, now that it’s already been revealed that the Romney plan is going to be a rehash of the policies of George W. Bush, here’s the shorter version of the Romney campaign and how it intends to bring about a “better America”: 

a. A war in Asia with numerous anticipated but unplanned-for complications, and subsequent occupation; 

b. Tax cuts for millionaires; 

c. A renewed effort to voucherize or expressly privatize Social Security and Medicare; and

d. Revocation of Obamacare, which would return us to the days of lifetime maximums, denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, revocation of policies to cover kids up to age 26 on their parents’ plans, and continuation of the fiscal nightmare whereby the uninsured routinely go bankrupt in the face of medical bills, and government foots the bill for primary-care-by-emergency room. 

Romney’s support among the Republican faithful is a mile wide and 1/16th of an inch deep. The only motivator that will get true believers out will be a hatred of Obama. 

2. Apparently, Carl Paladino did for Newt Gingrich in New York in 2012 what Carl Paladino did for Carl Paladino in New York in 2010. 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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What Romney Considers to be "Better"

Mitt Romney - The Shake-N-Fake Candidate

By Flickr User DonkeyHotey

1. After sweeping the Tuesday once known as “super”, and effectively all-but-securing the Republican nomination for President, Mitt Romney took out his Etch-a-Sketch and made his first attempt to erase Mitt Romney as “Severe Conservative” and create Mitt Romney as “Paternal anti-Socialist Optimist.” His campaign theme, which until Tuesday had been, “I am just as insane a right-winger as Santorum, and just as unscrupulous a corrupt Washington insider as Gingrich” switched to “A Better America”. 

Aside from being a rip-off of the prospective hopefulness of the Obama 2008 campaign, imagine the right-wing response had Obama selected that phrase for his slogan. “Better?! N0bama thinks America is no good!” and other disingenuous cries echoing jingoistic American exceptionalism.

After all, no other post-industrial market economy with a pluralistic representative democracy exports jobs, votes against their own interests, coddles millionaires, and becomes bogged down in Asian quagmires like the United States of America. 

Romney has barely uttered a word about what he’d do as President – not publicly, anyway. Suffice it to say that a guy who’s never been in the middle class has absolutely no idea how to fix the problems ailing America’s middle class, nor does he likely care. The middle class don’t cut massive checks to friendly SuperPACs or max out to the Romney campaign.

So, now that it’s already been revealed that the Romney plan is going to be a rehash of the policies of George W. Bush, here’s the shorter version of the Romney campaign and how it intends to bring about a “better America”: 

a. A war in Asia with numerous anticipated but unplanned-for complications, and subsequent occupation; 

b. Tax cuts for millionaires; 

c. A renewed effort to voucherize or expressly privatize Social Security and Medicare; and

d. Revocation of Obamacare, which would return us to the days of lifetime maximums, denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, revocation of policies to cover kids up to age 26 on their parents’ plans, and continuation of the fiscal nightmare whereby the uninsured routinely go bankrupt in the face of medical bills, and government foots the bill for primary-care-by-emergency room. 

Romney’s support among the Republican faithful is a mile wide and 1/16th of an inch deep. The only motivator that will get true believers out will be a hatred of Obama. 

2. Apparently, Carl Paladino did for Newt Gingrich in New York in 2012 what Carl Paladino did for Carl Paladino in New York in 2010. 

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State of the Union Reactions

CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today released the following statement following President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress responding specifically to two tenants of his speech that she has worked on for years: rebuilding America’s manufacturing sector through trade enforcement and passing legislation that would end insider trading among Members of Congress.

“I was delighted to hear the President’s enthusiasm to sign legislation that ends insider trading in Congress and finally reigns in the political intelligence industry that’s been lurking in the shadows of the halls of Congress. I’ve been working on the STOCK Act since 2006 and I say that if the President wants to sign the STOCK Act, let’s get it through the House and send it to him!,” said Slaughter. “It is my hope that the bill that we send to the President is the same bill that has received overwhelming support. The STOCK Act is bipartisan, has enough support to pass the House and is what we should make the law of the land.”

“I was also encouraged that the President shares my desire to strengthen the American economy by rebuilding the American manufacturing sector. For too long American manufacturers have had to compete against illegal trade practices from international competitors and now is the time for bold trade enforcement policies.” Read more

Two for Tuesday

1. Hopefully, the WNY Food Truck Association will have something to celebrate later today, as the Buffalo Common Council is set to vote on proposed food truck permitting and regulations at 2pm today (Tuesday the 24th).  Buffalo Place, which governs much of the downtown CBD, has said it will follow the same guidelines the city sets forth, although trucks may have to pay a separate fee for a Buffalo Place permit. Follow along at #BUFTruck on Twitter.


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2. The Boston Bruins traveled to the White House yesterday as part of a traditional ceremony where the President congratulates the winner of last season’s Stanley Cup. All the Bruins attended, except for one. Goaltender Tim Thomas is a Glenn Beck “conservative” and decided to skip the ceremony, issuing the following statement (verbatim, all SIC):

I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT

Setting aside for a moment the statement’s inherent inconsistency, no one is disputing Thomas’ right as a “Free Citizen” to opt to skip the White House event. But what, precisely, did it accomplish? I’m not aware of a similar snub taking place during George W. Bush’s administration, and if it had I’d have been critical of that, as well. Because the White House event wasn’t a political one. It wasn’t a Bruin endorsement of Barack Obama and his policies.

You don’t have to agree with the President to attend a ceremony honoring you, and I think it’s somewhat indicative of a complete breakdown of fundamental civility in our society. Regardless of your thoughts on the current occupant of the White House, the office and what it stands for deserve a certain degree of honor and respect. If the President wants to congratulate you for an achievement, I think it’s better form to go, rather than to stay home and make a political point about why.  Although the Presidency is a governmental post, it needn’t always be a political one, and this wasn’t a political event.

Again – not because Thomas isn’t free to do whatever he damn well wants to do. But I think it was a childish and self-centered move that reflects poorly on him, and is deserving of criticism.


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