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Trump’s favorite lie: Everything was bad under Obama

Trump, Obama
REUTERS/Carlos Barria
President-elect Donald Trump greeting outgoing President Barack Obama during inauguration ceremonies on January 20, 2017.

“Facts are stubborn things.” That quote is often attributed to Founding Father John Adams, and he did say it, but didn’t originate it, according to

President Donald Trump disagrees. He clearly believes he can make facts play his tune, and get his base supporters to dance to it. He lies constantly and disregards inconvenient truths, especially any facts that make him look bad and most especially facts that might reflect well on his despised predecessor, Barack Obama.

Journalists are wedded to the importance of factual accuracy in a way that a compulsive liar/braggart like Trump either cannot imagine or thinks is for suckers. Dishonesty ranks high among the Trumpian traits that bother me, and the fact that his supporters either don’t know they are being lied to or don’t care is very hard for me to accept. But there it is.

The fact-checkers, whose work is more and more important for those who prefer facts over lies, police the line between fact and falsehood on a day-to-day basis, and do a great job. Today, my small contribution is to pass along a very good overview that reflects on one of Trump’s favorite overarching falsehoods. Namely:

‘Obama bad; Trump good’ is pretty much his analysis

Trump describes an America in which everything was going down the tubes under  Obama, which is why we needed Trump to make America great again. And he claims that this project has come to fruition, with America setting records for prosperity under his leadership and guidance. “Obama bad; Trump good” is pretty much his analysis in all areas and measurement of U.S. activity, especially economically. Even if this were true, it would reflect poorly on Trump’s character, but it has the added problem of being false, a big lie made up of many small ones.

Personally, I don’t assume that all economic measurements directly reflect the leadership of whoever occupies the Oval Office, nor am I smart enough to figure out what causes what in the economy. But the idea that presidents get the credit or the blame for the economy during their tenure is a political fact of life. Trump, in his adorable, immodest mendacity, not only claims credit for everything good that happens in the economy, but tells people, literally and specifically, that they have to vote for him even if they hate him, because without his guidance, their 401(k) accounts “will go down the tubes.” That would be offensive even if it were true, but it is utterly false. The stock market has been on a 10-year run of steady gains that began in 2009, the year Barack Obama was inaugurated. But why would anyone care about that? It’s only an unarguable, stubborn fact.

Still, speaking of facts, there are so many measurements and indicators of how the economy is doing, that those not committed to an honest investigation can find evidence for whatever they want to believe. Trump and his most committed followers want to believe that everything was terrible under Barack Obama and great under Trump.

The data

That’s baloney. Anyone who believes that believes something false. And a series of charts and graphs published Monday in the Washington Post and explained by Economics Correspondent Heather Long provides the data that tells the tale. The details are complicated. Click through to the link above and you’ll learn much. But the overview is pretty simply this:

The U.S. economy had a major meltdown in the last year of the George W. Bush presidency. Again, I’m not smart enough to know how much of this was Bush’s “fault.” But he had been in office for six years when the trouble started. So, if it’s ever reasonable to hold a president accountable for the performance of the economy, the timeline is bad for Bush. GDP growth went negative. Job growth fell sharply and then went negative. Median household income shrank. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 5,000 points! U.S. manufacturing output plunged, as did average home values, as did average hourly wages, as did measures of consumer confidence and most other indicators of economic health.

(Backup for that is contained in the Post piece I linked to above.)

Barack Obama inherited that mess of falling numbers, which continued during his first year in office, 2009, as he put in place policies designed to turn it around. By 2010, Obama’s second year, pretty much all of the negative numbers had turned positive. By the time Obama was up for reelection in 2012, all of them were headed in the right direction, which is certainly among the reasons voters gave him a second term by a solid (not landslide) margin.

Continued through second term

Basically, all of those good numbers continued throughout the second Obama term. The U.S. GDP, probably the single best measure of how the economy is doing, grew by 2.9 percent in 2015, which was Obama’s seventh year in office and was the best GDP growth number since before the crash of the late Bush years. GDP growth slowed to 1.6 percent in 2016, which may have been among the indicators that supported Trump’s campaign-year argument that everything was going to hell and only he could fix it.

During the first year of Trump, GDP growth grew to 2.4 percent, which is decent but not great and anyway, a reasonable person would acknowledge that — to the degree that economic performance is to the credit or blame of the president — the performance in the first year of a new president is a mixture of the old and new policies.

In Trump’s second year, 2018, the GDP grew 2.9 percent, equaling Obama’s best year, and so far in 2019, the growth rate has fallen to 2.1 percent, a mediocre number and a decline for which Trump presumably accepts no responsibility and blames either Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar or, if he can swing it, Barack Obama.

I suppose it’s natural for a president to want to take credit for everything good that happens on his (or someday her) watch, but not the blame for anything bad. Trump is more blatant about this than most. If we judge by his bad but remarkably steady approval ratings (today, according to the average maintained by, it’s 41.9 approval/ 53.7 disapproval) the pretty-good economy is not winning him new supporters, nor is his constant exaggeration of his accomplishments costing him many old ones).

I already offered it above, but the full Washington Post workup of these numbers, and commentary/explanation by economics correspondent Heather Long, are here.

About that deficit

On a related matter, if you care about what used to be called fiscal conservatism, which is the belief that federal debt and deficit matter, here’s a New York Times analysis, based on Congressional Budget Office data, suggesting that the annual budget deficit (that’s the amount the government borrows every year reflecting that amount by which federal spending exceeds revenues) which fell steadily during the Obama years, from a peak of $1.4 trillion at the beginning of the Obama administration, to $585 billion in 2016 (Obama’s last year in office), will be back up to $960 billion this fiscal year, and back over $1 trillion in 2020. (Here’s the New York Times piece detailing those numbers.)

Trump is currently floating various tax cuts for the rich and the poor that will presumably worsen those projections, if passed. As the Times piece reported:

Rising deficit projections are the result of sluggish growth in federal revenue after Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts went into effect, and several bipartisan agreements to raise military and nondefense domestic discretionary spending, which Mr. Trump signed into law… Typically, the budget deficit shrinks when unemployment is low. Mr. Trump’s administration has defied that trend.

I do wonder how much Trump’s supporters, who presumably consider themselves “conservatives,” including “fiscal conservatives,” know about these trends, and how much they care.

Comments (64)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/22/2019 - 09:45 am.

    Just remember; Trump uses the label ‘fake news’ for any real facts that he doesn’t like.
    We’re living in a Brave New World.
    My favorite source of economic data is FRED
    Yes, it’s a government source, but run by career professionals, not politicians.
    The’ve got good graphs to illustrate any possible economic trend that you’re looking for.

    • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 08/22/2019 - 12:19 pm.

      A disturbing number of times on social media I’ve seen apparent Trump supporters label anything critical of the president as ‘fake news’. One gets the distinct impression of cult-like behavior, where the evidence of the world can be ignored if it tarnishes the unquestioned leader.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/22/2019 - 09:48 am.

    I do wonder how much Trump’s supporters, who presumably consider themselves ‘conservatives,’ including ‘fiscal conservatives,’ know about these trends, and how much they care.”

    It doesn’t matter. Support for Trump is not based on facts, or policy. It’s based on emotion; specifically, it’s based on a visceral hatred of liberalism and The Others. Trump taps into that perfectly when he blames everything bad on Obama. His supporters hated (still hate) Obama for many reasons, both true and false. Trump gives them an affirmation that they are right, that Obama was bad. The objective and provable facts cannot withstand the power of that level of hatred.

    Do “both sides do it?” To a certain extent, yes. The Trump regime, and its enablers, are taking it to an unprecedented level. Nothing bad is their fault; everything good is to their credit.

    • Submitted by Gaye Bunting on 09/24/2019 - 11:49 pm.

      I assume you realize that everything negative you wrote about President Trump also applies to Democrats and Obama. Both sides are guilty of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Isn’t it time to quit pointing fingers at one another? There isn’t a man alive who is without faults. Maybe we could look for the good in each other instead of being so critical and hateful.

  3. Submitted by richard owens on 08/22/2019 - 11:15 am.

    Yesterday the NYTimes and others reported revised job creation numbers.

    It appears the numbers were overstated by 501,000 for 2018.

    “Employers added a half-million fewer jobs in 2018 and early 2019 than previously reported, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

    The revisions, which are preliminary, are part of an annual process in which survey-based estimates are brought into alignment with more definitive data from state unemployment insurance records. Wednesday’s revision covers the period through March; final updates, which will include the rest of 2019, will be released in February.

    The revisions don’t change the overall picture of a healthy job market. But they do mean that 2018, which had ranked among the strongest years of job growth in the decade-long recovery, was weaker than previously believed. After the revision, hiring probably averaged under 200,000 jobs per month last year, down from the 223,000 initially reported and only modestly better than the 179,000 monthly jobs added in 2017.
    [end quote]

    That means 2018 growth was overstated as well.

    Farmers are irate about the crop reports too, as they likely are overstating the current crop and projected yields, hurting commodity prices some more.

    How can one man do so much damage to the trust and relationships that make an economy?

    Facts are necessary.

  4. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 08/22/2019 - 11:43 am.

    What is going to happen to your journalism career when Trump is no longer in office? There are a LOT of people out here, both Trump supporters and opponents, who are really getting tired of reading about Trump, both pro and con, 24/7. There are other things going on that are being totally ignored. How about giving the Trump stories a break for a month or so?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/22/2019 - 12:15 pm.

      I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Trump is the President of the United States. Most people would tell you that makes him someone of interest.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 08/22/2019 - 12:29 pm.

      But you must know that we are only doing what Donald Trump insists on: That our every day be tightly focused on Him.

      In his own words, He’s the Chosen One,” of course, Second Coming and all that; “King of Israel”? Etc.

      When the news doesn’t include some tight focus on Trump, he invents something that brings back that focus.

      Let’s un-elect Trump in 2020–that’s the best solution to your irritation with him.

      • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 08/22/2019 - 01:00 pm.

        I wholeheartedly agree with Connie Sullivan but I would like to offer one caveat. Even if/when Donald Trump is defeated and must leave the presidency, I suspect that he will not go quietly. He will continue to use deception, fantasy, misinformation, and “alternative facts” to keep himself on the front page. HIs addiction to being the headline every day, his unquenchable narcissism, and his likely contempt for the person who defeated him will keep the venom and vitriol flowing for a long time.

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 08/22/2019 - 01:26 pm.

      Just throwing out a wild and crazy idea. Maybe don’t read the column if you’re tired of it?

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 08/22/2019 - 01:31 pm.

      Eric found plenty to write about before Trump came into office.

      I have full faith that he will continue to find plenty to write about after Trump is gone.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/22/2019 - 02:41 pm.

      OMG, no Trump news for a month. Trumps head will explode if he is off the front page that long.

      Mr. Black could write about the Republican Party that Trump has sucked the life out of. He has turned the GOP congress into feckless legislators. It all boils down to a party without any leadership, principles, compassion, ethics, morality, or commitment to the country. There is plenty to write about.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/22/2019 - 04:49 pm.

        Don’t sell them short.

        They were feckless before Don Trump.

      • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/24/2019 - 10:41 am.

        As you said, Tom, “he has turned the GOP Congress into feckless legislators. It all boils down to a party without any leadership, principles, compassion, ethics, morality, or commitment to the country. There is plenty to write about.” Unfortunately, no, there isn’t plenty to write about. Because, in fact, you’ve said it all. Those things are perfectly true, and nothing will change, until – or unless – Trump is defeated. Only then will they possibly learn.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/27/2019 - 08:29 am.

        Trump is a symptom, not the disease. Getting rid of Trump will only temporarily alleviate our country’s current illness. Some rules about what can be considered “news” will be necessary (sad to say, Mr. Black’s articles are not news, and should be clearly labeled “commentary” or “opinion,” which they’re not now; Fox News needs to be completely renamed). An increase in critical thinking education is necessary. And we need to crack down on tax exempt status of political organizations, including churches. Overall, we need to balance individual rights (including the right to be willfully ignorant) with the best interests of the public, in general.

      • Submitted by Gaye Bunting on 09/25/2019 - 12:15 am.

        As a conservative, from my point of view everything negative you said about Republicans perfectly describes Democrats. How can we be looking at the same thing and yet see it so differently? I wish I knew the answer to that.

    • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/24/2019 - 09:22 am.

      That would only be possible in theory, because Trump would have to be dragged from the spotlight with his teeth still in it. The problem here is that, if journalists ignore him, Trump is liable to do something crazy. Oh, wait…….never mind.

  5. Submitted by Misty Martin on 08/22/2019 - 12:00 pm.

    Did anyone hear President Trump call himself “The Chosen One” while gazing up into the heavens yesterday?

    Supposedly, it was about taking on China with the tariffs we are imposing, etc., but still . . .

    Can you even imagine people’s reactions had President Obama said something like that? That’s what Chris Evans, a.k.a. Captain America, questioned earlier . . . what would Fox News have said if Barack Obama had said something like that while he was still president?!? Probably not the same reaction that they gave to President Trump yesterday, that’s for sure.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/22/2019 - 02:55 pm.

      Actually, ‘Chosen’ (or Chosin) can refer to North Korea, or part of it.
      Those of you my age may remember the battle of the Chosen Reservoir in the Korean War.
      The implications of Trump’s choice of a North Korean place name are left to the reader.

    • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/24/2019 - 09:25 am.

      On Friday, Trump referred to himself as “the chosen one” for the second time in as many days. It’s hard to tell if this is becoming a habit for him, or perhaps a sign of something much worse.

  6. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/22/2019 - 12:34 pm.

    A third of US economists see a recession coming in 2021. Trump said, “He doesn’t see one coming,” then the next day it comes out he is making plans for a recession. You must remember he is a desperate man that never tells the truth. Therein lies the problem with a man that has ZERO credibility, you can’t believe him.

    Trump’s daily comments and bizarre behavior are serving you and me because he is very effectively impeaching himself. It may not be impeachment by congress, but it will effectively be impeachment by voters. Trump never did want to be President and he is exceptionally good a not being president. Now that he occupies the Oval Office the daily pressure of expectation of being President goes unfulfilled and it is taking its toll. He wants out, but he is conflicted, because if he gets out the next step for him is the New York Court and that won’t be good news for him either. All of Trump’s deception, deflections, lies, corruption, and conspiracy theories are all coming together and there is no place for him to hide any longer. Trump is desperate! There is no good news for Trump. That is rough on a man who can no longer polish his image. The cheat, the liar, and fraud that he is can no longer be artificially polished anymore as we know who and what he really is. I feel sorry for the part of the country that has fallen for Trump and his nonsense. Being hoodwinked by Trump does not make them look good. It makes them look like they have the same flaws Trump has. Some of Trump’s defenders are starting to back out as they can no longer justify him and his flaws. There will be more fleeing as we get closer to the 2020 election. For some, their support of Trump will be a stain on their identity for the rest of their lives. You can’t justify Trump for two and a half years or longer and then cleanly back away.

    The thought of possibly being beat by a woman or an older man absolutely terrifies him. The electorate is starting to pay attention and they are figuring Trump out quickly. Trump is unable to grow his base and he can’t win with just his base.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/22/2019 - 04:50 pm.

      Economists have predicted 15 of the last 8 recessions.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/22/2019 - 08:31 pm.

        The inverted yield curve is significant.
        The fact that interest rates for long term bonds are actually shorter than those for short term ones is very unusual, and indicates that investors are very uncertain about the long term state of the economy. Business investment shows the same pattern. Corporations are choosing to buy back their stock rather than invest their tax breaks in productive capacity.
        These facts don’t guarantee a recession, but they are hardly a sign of economic health.
        It’s not only the professional economists who are nervous.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/23/2019 - 07:09 am.

      63% now believe Trump is heading to reelection, up from 46% in February. (Rasmussen) So there’s that.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/23/2019 - 09:40 am.

        I note, with no small amusement, your citation of the Rasmussen Poll.

        We all take comfort in hearing what we want to hear, so there’s that.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 08/23/2019 - 10:03 am.

        And that would be bad news for Trump: 54% oppose his re-election and the fact that many of those believe he may still be re-elected through voter fraud and Russian meddling will help to drive the anti Trump turn out to insure that their fears of Chosen One term 2 will not come to pass.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/23/2019 - 10:18 am.

        Is that 63% of Republicans? Rasmussen’s bias is well known; it’s often a polling outlier.
        The latest 538 numbers show Trump’s approval/disapproval numbers at 53.8% dissing him, only 41.6% approving.
        Their data from other polls clearly show Rasmussen’s outlier status.

      • Submitted by ian wade on 08/23/2019 - 04:58 pm.

        Only 63%? Are you sure that’s a Rasmussen poll?

      • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/24/2019 - 09:40 am.

        Rasmussen’s polling methodology differs significantly from other polls, relying on the same relatively small group of respondents instead of contacting people at random from a large database. These respondents are also asked to respond to prerecorded questions, rather than being interviewed “live.” There have also been a number of concerns over the manner in which it phrases its questions, as they often tend to implant, or even encourage, bias within that same small group of respondents. For example, a recent question was “Should the government set limits on how much salt Americans can eat?” when the issue was actually whether to limit the amount of salt in pre-processed food. Given these issues, it should come as no surprise that Rasmussen’s polling results are generally at odds with the majority of other polls.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/26/2019 - 08:10 am.

        Since 2016 Conservatives have mocked the polls.

        Why the change of heart, Mr. Tester?

  7. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/22/2019 - 01:05 pm.

    In the interests of holding both Presidents accountable for their terms, it would behoov the left to also acknowledge that there are things Obama could have done better.

    For example, efforts at economic stability focused near exclusively on bailing out the financial system & big business (e.g. automakers). Little was done to address structural inefficiencies in the system that skew the system towards the wealthy & powerful, leaving the rest to fend for themselves. Ironically, that failure fueled much of the populist anger that Trump rode into office.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/22/2019 - 02:56 pm.

      But only Trump claims perfection.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/22/2019 - 04:54 pm.

      Indeed, Obama (Barack Hussein Obama to some) was a corporate Dem, who approached Wall Street on bended knee, doing their bidding for more US job killing, corporate negotiated free trade agreements.

      He bailed out the financial sector that has bought and paid for the Dem party for decades now; yet he let hardworking homeowners struggle and fail.

      Those who dismiss this may see a repeat of 2016.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/22/2019 - 06:02 pm.

        Your use of his middle name, which he did not choose and does not choose to use, is a giveaway.
        Stay in bed with Drumpf; you’ll wake up with fleas.

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 08/22/2019 - 06:24 pm.

        Let’s not replay the Bernie-folks 2016 fiasco, where their disdain of “a corporate Dem” (or maybe, it was just of a woman as candidate) directly caused Trump’s victory. That’s not debatable; more Bernie types sat out the election or voted for Stein than Trump won by, state by state. Give it up.

        Barack Obama was a light-years-ahead President, when compared to Donald Trump, and Frank Phelan knows that. Why keep criticizing Obama, who’s been out of office for almost three years? Because he saved the economy as best he could (and he did save our economy, despite GOP resistance)?

        Obama tried to do his best, he tried to help people. He worked hard, at organizing an administration of experts for all agencies, and at making sure he had all the relevant information on an issue before making up his mind on policy. Has anyone ever said or implied that Donald Trump works hard as President? No, they can’t say that–he’s off golfing or more likely, just sitting in front of a TV set. or tweeting. Ignorant and incurious. Lazy. We can’t get any worse a president than he is, An international joke (e.g., the world guffawed at the whole Greenland thing).

        I hope there are few Democratic voters out there who, like Mr, Phelan, insist on absolute perfection, absolute purity of ideology, absolutely no ties to any big money, in the Democratic candidate for president in 2020. We need to un-elect Trump with one of the Democrats. That’s it.

        Any one of them, even Bernie, is better.

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/23/2019 - 10:35 am.

          Good lord this is so annoying: The Bernie types that sat out the election were not Democrats and normally don’t vote for a Democrat. They were the swing voters we hear so much about, you know the ones Centrist Democrats always abandon their base to impress. Oh, and you forgot to add the obligatory Hillary won by 3 million votes.

          Lastly, there is a school of thought that says, with these swing voters and a good Democratic turnout Bernie would have beaten Trump. Personally I am skeptical that all those Hillary voters would have turned out for Bernie give their animosity toward him, but we will never know, will we?

        • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/24/2019 - 09:01 am.

          Indeed, any of the dems would be better than Trump. The question is what you want the next president to do. I want bold leadership that will fight for the people & challege assumptions about what is possible.

          I think a major strategy failure of the Obama admin was to start ACA negotiations with a Republican plan. They should have started with a radical, single payer, government run proposal, then compromised to get the ACA. Instead, they started with a moderate proposal & republicans rebranded it as a leftist government run system.

          My concern with a Biden administration is that he’ll fall into that trap again & again. It’s not 1985 anymore; there aren’t any moderate Republicans left with whom to work as credible partners. But Biden seems to think that he’s the guy who can find that middle ground; not understanding it was ceded to Republicans long ago.

          Sure, Biden would be better than Trump. HRC would have been too. But neither has a particularly bold vision that will swing the ideological pendulum back towards a vision for America that values citizens over corporations.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/26/2019 - 08:22 am.

          Obama didn’t do for homeowners a tenth of what he did for Wall Street and the criminal banksters. Did his Justice Dept. charge even one person of fraud? Did he pass real and meaningful reform, when Wall Street was at it’s weakest? Not even close!

          And by letting the fomentors of the Great Recession off the hook, he, in part, sowed the seeds of the election of 2016.

          Examining the past in order to not make the same mistakes is a very good idea.

          And what did he do for Labor when every GOP politician in the country was trying to strangle it? He barely managed meaningless platitudes.

        • Submitted by Misty Martin on 08/26/2019 - 10:08 am.


          I agree with you 100%. Well said! Thank you.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/27/2019 - 08:42 am.

        Wow. You all are as subject to a squishy timeline that supports the “Obama bad” mantra. The economic bailout bill was signed by George W Bush, not Obama. Obama, as the executive of the country was not in the position to nullify a law that was lawfully passed and signed by his predecessor. True, Obama supported (generally) the plan, but he also proposed some of the measures that were later applied to the auto industry–including a payback measure. Arguably, it worked. But something else might have worked. Since we didn’t try something else, we’ll never know. But, no, the bank bailout (especially as it was executed) wasn’t an Obama thing.

  8. Submitted by Robert Ahles on 08/22/2019 - 01:24 pm.

    Trump will never let facts interfere with his narrative. Sadly, it won’t matter. Trump supporters will continue to support him. Many Trump supporters are much like Trump. Their opinions are little influenced by reality. They continue to believe whatever seems to make them feel better about themselves. Trump’s childish behavior, his infidelity, his lies, his flip-flopping, his lack of accomplishment and inconsistencies matter not a whit. Their blind allegiance to a single political leader is not patriotism or American, it is the characteristic of a Sheeple.

    The disgrace of a President has already gone too far. Trump is a disgrace to the Office of the Presidency, and to human decency. We as parents try to teach our children some fundamental basics to being a good person. To name a few: honesty, humility, accountability, respect. Has this President shown any of these qualities? The answer is a resounding NO.

    “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.

  9. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/22/2019 - 06:37 pm.

    My thanks to Robert Ahles for including that line from Theodore Roosevelt, another President born into money, but who – unlike the current occupant – sometimes put the welfare of the society as a whole ahead of his own “brand.” Not all the time, mind you – that was still the age of the Robber Barons, and Roosevelt was every bit the imperialist – but at least some of the time.

    Along those lines, I pass along a little food for thought to those wondering about a President who insults our allies publicly, while fawning over dictatorial rulers who have never been friends of the United States.

    “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

    (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

    One might make the argument that trying to pressure allies to change their minds and, once again, include a long-time enemy of the United States, Russia, in the G7 / G8 nations group from which it was expelled, or insisting that North Korea means no harm because its ruler has sent flattering letters to the President, or who goes out of his way to insult a country whose citizens have died fighting alongside Americans in a war far from their home country, in which they have no direct stake except that of supporting a long-time ally, or eagerly soliciting any and all assistance that he could get from that same enemy, Russia, in the 2016 election, every bit of it illegal, Mr. Trump is giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. In other words, one might argue that Mr. Trump is a traitor.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/27/2019 - 08:47 am.

      More than that. The idea that treason can only be applied to one who aids the enemy when we’re actively at war may be true, but what constitutes war is extremely outdated. We ARE at war. We have been under constant virtual attack for years by various states, including the very countries that Trump has been giving aid and comfort.
      For what it’s worth, our country may be guilty of the same. That doesn’t make it any less of a war, nor an excuse to accept meddling in our elections. It just means that we need to think deep and hard about what our values are as Americans, and whether or not we’re also bad actors in the world. And if we are, do we change?

  10. Submitted by joe smith on 08/22/2019 - 07:18 pm.

    The Left’s biggest lie, it was all great under Obama. IRS targeting TEA party groups, you will save $2,500 and be able to keep your doctor, Fast n Furious gun running, AG Holder held in contempt, 1.8% GDP growth, 9 million more on food stamps, lowest labor participation rate in decades, 150 billion in cash on pellets to buy Iranian nuclear deal…. It is not perfect under Trump and it wasn’t under Obama, no matter what the Left tells you.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/23/2019 - 09:43 am.

      You forgot to mention the tan suit! And the mustard!

      Did anyone say it was “perfect” under Obama? Can the list of Obama-era scandals even begin to approach the sheer lawless ineptitude of the Trump administration? Was Obama a thin-skinned, arbitrary bully with no regard for any of the norms of constitutional governance?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 08/23/2019 - 10:57 am.

      Let’s just go for good old George Washington truthfulness.

      If the existence of truth is denied everyone get’s to be right. Even when you are wrong:

      “I’m sure that loss of braking will never happen again”

      “I’m sure it’s not cancer”

      I’m sure Mr. Smith agrees truth has merit.

      Obama, half true to true 73% of the time (Politifact)

      Trump, half true to true 29% of the time (Politifact)

      If 71% of everything Trump says is likely false, the best and safest course of action is to take whatever he says and reverse it to get to 71% truthfulness.

      Which, of course tells us he has admittedly really done a bad job and acknowledges Obama did a good job.

      Always happy to help….

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/23/2019 - 04:13 pm.

      Excellent list of Right Wing Bugaboos.
      IRS Targeting was debunked, the Treasury investigation found that both Conservative AND Liberal groups were targeted.
      I’ll give you the 2500 and doctor thing, only because it was a dumb thing for Obama to say. Since 2001 medical costs have skyrocketed in this country and NO ONE gets to keep their doctor. As our company tries to keep costs down we switch providers frequently, sometime you keep you doctor other times you don’t.
      You GDP, Food Stamps and Labor rates are all part of the same thing. Folks of your ilk always seem to forget that GeeDubya CRASHED THE ECONOMY. Obama inherited the worst economy in modern times, of course GDP would suffer, more people would need food stamps and less people would be working. You all forget that we’ve had an extended period of growth due to Obama’s handling of the economy. The Fed Chair said as much as said that the other day. (Donny didn’t like that.)
      And those “pellets” of cash were Iranian assets that had been frozen earlier. We returned that as part of the Nuclear agreement. It was their money to begin with. Similar to the three C130 plane loads Dubya dumped in Iraq. At least Obama got receipts. Bush’s folks lost millions in one case they actually let three semi loads of cash, a billion per truck, go without anyone getting a receipt. Those trucks just drove off into Northern Iraq.

      Even if the things you mention were true, its nothing compared to the corruption we’re seeing in the Administration. Obama’s admin was one of the cleanest, Donald’s is on of the most corrupt.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/24/2019 - 07:40 am.

      Mr. Smith I thought I would replay this information because the GOP is so proud of Trump and all of his accomplishments.

      Trump, Moscow Mitch, and the GOP cowards in congress have turned the Republican Party into a “Trash Party” where anything goes. Blatant racism is okay, debt and deficits are okay, repeal and replace without an alternative is okay, polluted air and water are okay, only serving the top 1% is okay, tax cuts sold to help the middle class, but didn’t, are okay, kids in cages are okay, and the Senate has been turned into a one-man vote. It all boils down to Trump who has sucked the life out of the party because of the cowards in congress handing their authority to Trump. Now the party goes forward without any principles, compassion, ethics, morality, or commitment to the country.

    • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/24/2019 - 10:16 am.

      Of course things weren’t perfect under Obama, and in a very real sense, that’s not even the point here. The point is that Trump tells lies: brashly, repeatedly, daily, about big things and small…..and the nation suffers the consequences. Mind you, I’m not saying that everything he says is a lie. But a great deal of what he does say is misleading, questionable, inaccurate, unproven (or unprovable) or flat out false. Deep down, even the most ardent Trump supporters must admit that, if just to themselves. Yet there is a small minority of people who believe every single thing he says, and a roughly equal minority who believe nothing he says. Obviously, the competition between these extremes creates a great deal of chaos, while the majority of the people are in the middle, not knowing what or who to believe. And that’s extremely dangerous. If there were an ACTUAL national emergency, how would people respond? Some would take it seriously, and follow any government’s instructions to the letter. Others would scoff at it, ignoring – or even defying – such instructions. Millions of people could be placed in harm’s way, all because they don’t know whether the information they get is trustworthy. The possibilities are both frightening and mind-boggling. For whatever reason, Trump is creating the very conditions for such a national emergency to happen, on any number of fronts.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/26/2019 - 08:32 am.

      Joe, most progressives were very disappointed with Obama.

      Not me. I knew he was a corporate lackey all along.

  11. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 08/23/2019 - 08:09 am.

    Not very much was good under Obama, if you weren’t working for a corporation, bank, edu or gov. For those of us who work manual labor for a paycheck, and those of us relegated to the “service” economy, things were very much not good economically.

    Obama’s presidency was floated by $4 trillion the Fed created out of the ether, to pay banks 100 cents on the dollar for the failed mortgage debt they held, and to give (for next to nothing) to private equity like Blackrock, which now controls something like $7 trillion in assets.

    Trump’s economy is floating on debt, both Trump and Obama mistaking the stock market for the economy. Most official economists claim a recession is coming, those same economists having missed the housing bubble; the “everything” bubble they are equally oblivious too, assuring us it is just the cycle, ignoring structural problems like too much debt, gross income inequality, automation, AI, resource limits and ecological blowback.

    A reckoning for all this refusal on both sides to address stubborn facts, is sure to come. What is equally certain, seems to be that both sides will claim it was the other side that made a mess of it.

  12. Submitted by Julie Stroeve on 08/23/2019 - 09:30 am.

    Trump stokes his base for votes. The base hates Obama and the “black boy in the White House” and when Trump stokes racism, his base thinks “well if he says it it’s okay [to be a racist].” Someday we’ll return sanity to the White House and our country will be better for it.

    • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/24/2019 - 10:26 am.

      Racism has always been America’s “elephant in the room.” But under Trump, we’re being shown the elephant, made to touch it, hear it, smell it, taste it, experience it, talk about it, be fully cognizant of it, and even become comfortable with it….if not fully embrace it. But never ignore it, chase it away, harm it, or do anything else that might weaken its effect on us. In that sense, who cares if the elephant tramples a few people? It’s only a few people, and it’ll never happen to “us.” It only happens to “them” – whomever “them” happens to be, at any given time.

  13. Submitted by Tim Smith on 08/23/2019 - 11:08 am.

    Facts are wonderful as long as you are open to all the facts and dig a little deeper, not just the minimum facts to make the case for your fave party. That is what passes for journalism these days.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/24/2019 - 09:42 am.

      Facts are not friends of Trump, his supporters, or conservatives. The more you dig and discover the worse things get for Republicans, this is why magic and magical thinking are so prevalent among this crowd.

      It’s always funny when those who don’t know a “fact” when lands in their lap complain about the media.

    • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 08/24/2019 - 01:05 pm.

      Tim, you are certainly welcome to enlighten us.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/23/2019 - 11:28 am.

    I think it’s interesting that Trump supporters no longer try to defend Trump, they’re reduced to complaining about how much attention Trump gets in the media.

    We need to create a minimum of 200,000 jobs in the US just to keep up with the population. Trump has been failing to meet that bar for 2 thirds of his presidency thus far… and he keeps bragging about his economy, and being the chosen one… uh huh.

  15. Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/23/2019 - 12:23 pm.

    By dint or design, or maybe by default, Trump soaks us in his version of What’s Really Going On. Some of it is based on fact, but most of it is based on whatever he had for dinner last night, and the effect it had on his slumber. By the morning light, he’s hard at work, i-Phone in one hand, Diet Coke in the other, eyes glittering at the TV as the phony Fox Friends lay out his day for him. Something good happening in America? He deserves full credit, and he taps out his own accolades via Twitter. Something bad happened? Quick….find someone or something to blame, and make it known. But make it loud, and – ideally – make it ugly. The uglier it is, the more newsworthy it becomes, here in Trumpland. The problem, though, is in the soaking. We Americans never really know what is, and what isn’t. And we must never, ever really know, because Trump won’t allow that. No, news must go through him, filtered as he sees fit, seasoned Trump-style, or it’s not news at all. That’s the danger of this presidency. God only knows when it will start taking prisoners, or taking lives.

  16. Submitted by Joe Musich on 08/27/2019 - 09:38 pm.

    From Alice to Allofus in Wonderland. The Carroll writing finds real metaphorical validity in our nation today. It seems as more supporters of the man are half heartedly echoing what he says only so they do not have to face themselves. However it will take these folks to pull away from the hookah for the rabbit hole to be given a door and a sign for what it is.

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