Intentionally Unreasonable: Everyone and everything spinning

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Sunday’s presidential candidates debate was anything but presidential. But, sadly it wasn’t exceptional.

Just another brightly lit stage, at another political event, in another city, along the long and slow train wreck that is the 2016 campaign.

For more than 90 grueling minutes, with literally the fate of the entire world held in the balance of this election, viewers listened to a continuous string of uncomfortable and deplorable comments, actions, and reckless distortions, all played out on our highest political stage with the lowest measure of truth and decency.

But it was the post-debate debacle that was even more depressing.

Among a sea of political operatives, reporters and Trump children, was a group of women, each with a salacious Bill Clinton allegation to be shared in support of Donald Trump, the most sexist, misogynistic candidate to have ever run for the presidency.

With cameras flashing, and boom microphones flying, this group of women, all with tales about how Bill Clinton allegedly exploited them in various manners going back decades, were exploited by Trump as human campaign props, weirdly intersecting Trump’s own scandal involving the mistreatment of women.

Sad and bizarre.

How did we get to this place in our democracy where anything and everything ends up in the Spin Room of our political system?

Beyond the political realm, what happens when this beastly “spin” phenomena is applied to our business dealings? In our schools? Our day-to-day social contracts? Can all behavior be excused with big smiles and loud voices?

If our political leaders at the highest levels can bold-face spin, “no I didn’t say that” or “no I didn’t do that” in the face of clear and compelling video evidence, what message does that send to our society in general?

No matter what actually happened or happens is now secondary to how we process our own adoption of truth based upon the filters of personal bias and self-interest.

If you are an avid Hillary Clinton supporter, it’s easy to overlook her lack of judgment with regard to the handling of emails. She was clearly wrong.

If you’re a Donald Trump supporter it’s easy to overlook, um, huh, well, nothing. I can’t go there with Trump. I tried to apply some equivalency between Clinton and Trump – but I can’t. It’s just not there. Not even close.

We have one candidate (Clinton) who is a political machine with robotic tendencies, and who has committed herself to public service for more than three decades. And we have another candidate (Trump) who is a selfish, narcissistic fool.

How many of us have said privately or publicly, “how did we get to a place where Donald Trump is the presidential nominee of the Republican party?” How?

For me, this rhetorical question was answered clearly by Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist and former senior campaign adviser to U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Schmidt made his comments on “Meet the Press,” when discussing Trump.

“What this exposes though is much deeper, and goes to the Republican Party as an institution. This candidacy. The magnitude of its disgrace to the country is almost impossible, I think, to articulate. But it has exposed the intellectual rot in the Republican Party.”

Schmidt went on, “the danger for all of these candidates … is over the course of the last year, these candidates (supporting Trump) have repeatedly put their party ahead of their country, denying what is so obviously clear to anybody who’s watching about (Trump’s) complete and total, manifest unfitness for this office.”

No spin. Just truth.

Just imagine going back five years, when Trump was frothing at the mouth about President Obama and the crazy and destructive birther issue. Remember how his investigators “found some interesting things” in Hawaii, according to The Donald?

What if, at that time, John Boehner, the speaker of the House, second in line of succession for the presidency, and highest-ranking Republican, didn’t passively perpetuate the birther myth by staying silent on the issue? What if instead he said in 2011, “Our country has serious issues to tackle and our president’s place of birth isn’t one of them. Of course, President Obama was born in the U.S., please stop this birther nonsense.”

Instead Boehner took the low road in 2011 by saying, “It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think,” when asked on “Meet The Press” about a focus group of Iowa voters who believed Obama was a Muslim.

What if here in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage was held accountable by  party supporters and allies for his harmful words and reckless deeds over the last six years? What if LePage supporters objectively weighed the damage and chaos caused by LePage and put the good of Maine before the good of their party long ago?

Somehow all this “spinning” in Maine and throughout our country has created a dizzying effect, where hard facts and simple truths are discounted broadly against the self-serving currency of blind party loyalty.

I have no doubt the powerful forces and long lens of recorded history will spin politicians like Trump and LePage accurately over time.

In the same way, I believe that President Obama will go down in U.S. and world history as one the best presidents of all time during one of the most difficult periods.

But today – and most importantly on Nov. 8 – we must recognize that Trump is neither a good man nor good candidate to become our next president. The fact that he is one election away from potentially becoming the next leader of the free world is already a confusing, painful and damaging stain in the pages of U.S. history.

In Maine and beyond, we can and must do better. No spin. Just truth.

Steve Woods is from away, but fully here now, living in Yarmouth, working in Falmouth, traveling the world, and trying his best. His column appears every other week. He can also be heard Saturdays at 11 a.m. on WLOB 1310 AM and 100.5 FM.

  • David Craig

    This might be your best article so far. No spin. Just truth.

  • Chew H Bird

    We the people empowered two political parties to nominate clearly flawed candidates for our highest office. While I cannot defend Trump, neither can I support Ms. Clinton. We have ourselves to blame for this mess.

    While I understand that a third party candidate has virtually no chance of anything, and our current third party candidates have serious flaws, I am unable in good conscience to support either the Democratic or Republican candidates. If I were to do so I would not sleep at night, and no matter which one becomes our next President, the polarization of our country is a divide that promises four more years of angry bitter controversy. We have reached a very sad state of affairs (pun intended), and while Mr. Johnson may confuse Mexico with Canada, I suspect he would be far less divisive than either of the two mainstream candidates.

    • truther

      I’ll be voting for Hillary in November and I’ll sleep very, very well at night having done so. Neither Johnson nor Stein are ready for prime time. Sorry, but that’s just how it is. And Trump isn’t worth discussing anymore.

      This “polarization” plaguing our nation didn’t just happen by chance. It’s not some malaise that everyone is equally responsible for. The Republican Party intentionally made itself more partisan, and more focused on social issues (guns, gays, God), and set these events in motion. We’re now at the point where the Senate refuses to even consider a dead Supreme Court justice’s replacement even though it could have finished the process literally months ago. Those do-nothing Republican Senators, and their ilk in the House, are the ones who made Trump possible. This is their fault.

      • Chew H Bird

        I am glad you are voting your conscience. I wish everyone would do the same instead of blindly following their party.

        As food for thought, the Commission on Presidential Debates is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. The exclusion of third party candidates from the debates is based on individual popularity (which is not a criteria for being elected president). The system itself is rigged upon false premise and I just can’t bring myself to endorse it by supporting a candidate from either party.

        • truther

          I don’t disagree with your exasperation about third parties at all.

      • Bowdoin81

        I was alive back in 2012 when the Republican party nominated a most decent, most competent man with proven high level success in both the public and private sectors and a record of public service. His name was Mitt Romney. He did his homework and was well informed on all the issues.

        Spinners on the left vilified him to the point he sounded like an axe murderer. He would be a fabulous president, but he lost the election.

        His defeat by the spinners on the left and their media accomplices led directly to the voter rebellion that gave us Trump. If a man like Romney isn’t good enough, what makes anyone think any of the non-Trump Republicans stood a chance? Where were all of you in 2012? What part did you play?

        • truther

          Where was I? Proudly voting for Obama, that’s where I was. He’s also a most decent, most competent man with proven high level success — including soundly defeating Mitt Romney.

          Frankly, I would have considered voting for the Mitt Romney who was first elected governor of Massachusetts. But the socially conservative “47%” demagogue who ran in 2012? Nope, no chance.

          And if you’re going to blame the “left and their media accomplices” for creating 2016’s GOP by not voting for Romney, then you’re essentially conceding that the GOP is so pathetically weak it deserves to die. Gore lost 2000 despite winning the popular vote and Kerry and Obama are the farthest things from Trump you could imagine.

  • EABeem

    This election will come down to the intelligent versus the ignorant.

    • Charles Martel

      Yes, the intelligent Trump voters versus the ignorant Hillary voters.

      • Aliyah33

        🙂 …and a quote from Hillary herself: “Look, the average Democrat voter is just plain stupid. They’re easy to manipulate. That’s the easy part.”

    • llskinner

      Followed by the American version of China’s cultural revolution

  • Aliyah33

    Steve, apparently you’ve not yet seen: “Hillary Clinton in Omen of the Flies”?

    • Charles Martel

      That was creepy.

      • Aliyah33

        Yeah…and odd. I’ve never known flies to be a problem for any other president nor candidate during press releases, or a debate (I had to look it up because it seemed a joke… but it’s not.) Yes, creepy.

  • Charles Martel

    NerO will go down as one of America’s best presidents? Wow! It looks like Southern Maine’s stand-in for Al Gore nailed it once again.

    Since Stevie is still drinking the Leftist Kool-Aid and won’t EVER read books such as “In Trump We Trust”, “Armageddon”, “The Corruption Chronicles”, “Clinton Cash” or “Hillary’s America” perhaps he could watch this 4 minute video by Lou Dobbs if it’s not too much of an effort:

    • Aliyah33

      Here we go again – I’ve been censored, again. Seems ” -ape” is a bad word. Well, I agree with you Charles. Please look up a YouTube Video about the Wikileaks Podesta files “Wikileaks – Podesta Files reveal more about Hillary corruption, and Nibiru”. Hopefully, Steve, you’ll do the same.

  • tiresias75

    As you vote, PLEASE remember that the Presidency is but one of the ovals to fill in. research the legislators running, even if unopposed (write in someone). And PLEASE again, take the time to read the referenda and decide what they mean and whether they would be good – not for you, not for your business, not for your taxes, but for the overall good of the great people in this great state of Maine!