Mike Pence

Mike Pence's VP Debate Performance Showed That Trump Can Only Be Defended By Lying

The Trump campaign's detachment from reality is a recipe for unbound and unaccountable government.

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Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom

As Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's role is to stabilize the ticket, attacking Clinton while balancing out Trump's wilder impulses. Most of the time, in other words, his job is to serve as a senior surrogate for the campaign. But Pence's performance at last night's vice presidential debate shows just how hard that is—and what sort of lies and evasions are inevitably required to defend Trump's statements and positions.

Throughout the evening, Pence came across as reasonably calm and steady. But he seemed to go out of his way to avoid directly defending Trump's record in any way.

Indeed, at one point, when challenged by Kaine to defend Trump's repeated praise of foreign dictators, Pence almost seemed to start in on a defense.

"Well, look, I can defend—I—I…" he stammered.

But Pence didn't offer a defense. He went back on the attack, saying, "I can make very clear to the American people, after traveling millions of miles as our secretary of state, after being the architect of the foreign policy of this administration, America is less safe today than it was the day that Barack Obama became president of the United States."

It's a remarkable moment, in which you can see Pence, Trump's vice presidential candidate, making the decision not to defend the top of the GOP ticket in real time.

And yet it was not the most remarkable moment in the debate. Over and over, Pence simply denied or refused to acknowledge things that Trump had said. Just to take one example:

KAINE: You've got to be tough on Russia. So let's start with not praising Vladimir Putin as a great leader. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have said he's a great leader. And Donald Trump has business…

PENCE: No, we haven't.

Pence's denial is provably false.

Trump has repeatedly and publicly praised Putin. Last December, for example, Trump called Putin "bright and talented" and "he's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country." In September of this year, Trump said that Putin "has been a leader far more than our president [Obama] has been."

Not only has Trump praised Putin's leadership, so has Mike Pence. Less than a month ago, Pence said, "I think it's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country." The remark was made on video, on national television. You can watch it here.

So Pence was unable or unwilling to defend Donald Trump—except by pretending that neither he nor Trump said what they most definitely said.

Yes, all politicians exaggerate, and most of them lie, some more than others. But Trump is wholly and completely untethered from reality, and so are his senior aides and surrogates. This is what makes the idea of a Trump presidency so worrying. With Trump as president, it would be impossible to have an objective discussion about, well, anything. And based on all the evidence so far, this would not only hold true with Trump himself, but with his circle of advisers and spokespersons, his policymakers and implementers. That is a path to policies that are not only flawed, but unfixable—and even, in some sense impossible to debate. It is a recipe for unbound government and creeping authoritarianism, a situation in which political officials do not acknowledge even the most basic realities, and thus cannot be held accountable in any meaningful way.

Indeed, it is more than a little bit telling, and perhaps frightening, that Pence lied about his and Trump's expressions of admiration for a Vladimir Putin, an authoritarian leader whose regime has been connected to the deaths of journalists critical of his rule. The authoritarian mindset often seeks to deny inconvenient truths, or stamp them out.

Bad policies and bad decisions made in good faith can be argued with, and even spin can be usually be addressed given a modest attachment to the truth. But Trump has no such attachment—and neither do his surrogates. And lacking that attachment to reality is practically a condition for defending Trump. The GOP nominee's persona and positions effectively require anyone in his orbit to detach from reality. As Pence's performance last night showed, there are only two ways to approach defending Trump: by not doing it, or by baldly lying.

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    1. Yeah, I’ve been wondering if Suderman was okay.

  1. With Trump as president, it would be impossible to have an objective discussion about, well, anything.

    Wouldn’t that be a jarring change.

    1. We’re hitting levels of snark that shouldn’t even be possible.

      -Black Science Guy

    2. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that politicians don’t always tell the truth. I’m not sure I nor the rest of the electorate is ready for such hard hitting deep analysis of our current political reality……..

      ……please ready my feinting couch fine sir!

    3. Racist.

  2. So where’s the article on how annoying and downright stupid Kaine came off in the debate? I’m sure we’re getting that any minute now…

    1. Someone’s gotta fill the Biden shoes.

    2. It will be published right after Pete bangs one out on how a Clinton administration won’t be unbound or unaccountable because she has such reverence for our constitution.

      I cant quite decide who is more hysterical: Suderman, Chapman or Dalmia.

      1. Well only one of those had their article pulled due to basing it on 100% false information, which is quite impressive for opinion writers.

        1. Actually, this one is also based on 100% false information that Trump- and Pence keep praising Putin. But it probably won’t get pulled.

          1. Well, saying someone is a strong leader is praise. But it certainly doesn’t amount to an endorsement of their policies. If I say that Bernie Sanders seems more sincere about his beliefs and more willing to buck the establishment than other politicians, it doesn’t mean I don’t think socialism is a worthless pile of shit responsible for more misery than any other religion.

            1. “Well, saying someone is a strong leader is praise.”

              It can be, but isn’t automatically.

        2. Which article was that? Not challenging you, just want to know.

          1. Damn just saw this. There was a Dalmia article this weekend where she ranted about how horribly Islamophobic Trump was. Based on a tweet. From a parody Trump account. So article got updated with the entire (rather large) content replaced with “we have deleted the article because it was based on a parody tweet” or somesuch.

            And now I can’t find it in the archive, either by date or by clicking on Dalmia’s name.

            1. Down the memory hole.

              I avoid Dalmia’s articles because they are always shit. I’ll probably start doing the same with Suderman if he doesn’t get over his Trump Derangement Syndrome soon. Lately, I mostly just go straight to the comments to mock him.

            2. Was that the same one where she referred to the 1400 Arab-Americans Bush locked up in internment camps?

              1. Yes. Shame that I can’t find it, comments were gold.

            3. Ah, Dalmia. Thanks for the answer.

      2. 1. Dalmia
        2. Chapman
        3. Suderman

        Congrats Pete. You’re less unhinged than those two. All they can hang their hats on is that they aren’t Wiegel.

  3. In the Reason universe, Trump has his own galaxy.

    1. In the Reason Galaxy, Trump has his own…

      1. In the Criminal Justice System, Trump has his own stories

        1. Law & Order: Trump VU

          Every episode Trump stumbles into a corpse, berates them for being stupid enough to get killed, and then solves the murder by making Mike Pence confess.

  4. Wow, the contortions that went into drawing a conclusion that the debate showed anything beyond Kaine’s being the single most punchable face on the planet right now had to have been epic.

    1. I don’t understand why Race Bannon didn’t just hop up on the table and judo the Joker for America.

      1. Race was debating whether it was Cesar Romero Joker or Heath Ledger Joker.

        1. Race was debating whether it was Cesar Romero Joker or Heath Ledger Joker.

          Kaine would have to be the Romero version. He kind of looks like Romero’s version if you picture him with white face paint and green hair. And that creepy looking grin.

          1. This exchange means that Trump is Quentin Quest, and Hillary is Dr Zin

      2. Please don’t associate the awesomeness, that is Race Bannon, with anyone associated with Trump.

      3. Master Race Bannon, that is

    2. “Better than 0bama” is a low bar to cross. I didn’t see a quote that said Putin was “Great.”

  5. I was channel flipping in my hotel room last night (Canada) and saw the debate on 11 channels. Do Canadians really care that much about US politics?

    1. Do Canadians really care that much about US politics?

      I’m pretty sure about 30% of Canadian GDP is tied to trade w/ the US. Something like that.

      1. According to this… 20%

        Tho i think i once looked at a range of things not-covered in the top-level trade definitions and it accounted for the added 5-10%. Tourism, etc. would not be included, nor would a range of grey-market money movement across border (e.g. americans buying generic drugs in CA, which used to be a thing)

        1. sorry, ‘CA’ was meant to be shorthand for canada, not cali. i always used to mix up canadian acronyms between CAD, CND, CAN. i instinctively want to treat them like a US state.

          1. Really more of a vassal state. Like a giant, uncapsizable Guam.

            1. Remember, the moment you vassalize is us the moment we send Cytotoxic down.

              1. Remember, the moment you vassalize is us the moment we send Cytotoxic down.

                Fine, but you have to keep Winston and his slag mother.

              2. That would cause Panic in the streets!!!

                1. Could life ever be sane again?

              3. Remember, the moment you vassalize is us the moment we send Cytotoxic down.

                Think Syria or Mexico would be willing to take him as a refugee?

            2. Amusingly = a group of canadians trying to answer the question can’t agree on what their acronyms are either

              the answer is that “it depends” on what the context is. If internet or postal address, CA is actually right. If UN, international-relations-related- CAN; if financial? CND (for the currency)…. something like that.

              1. I think you mean CDN for monetary denomination.

                  1. Hey, it’s your financial sector that picked the mnemonic for Canadian currency.

                    We just call it the loonie.

    2. They have to this time, cause TRUMPOCALYPSE IS COMING!!!

      I won’t vote for Trump this time, but if he invades Canada and then makes it part of Alaska, I will vote for him next time. Oh, except for Quebec, whose residents must all be exiled to France first.

      1. Or he could build a wall around Quebec. More infrastructure spending. Jobs, baby!

        1. Or he could build a wall around Quebec

          That might actually get a lot of Canadians to support him.

        2. Or he could build a wall around Quebec.

          Sure, under two conditions:

          1. He has to let all the Anglos and Allos leave first; and
          2. When the wall’s finished, he has to fill Quebec up with water. Right to the brim.

    3. If cytotoxic is any indication…

    4. they’re worried about all those celebs who threaten to move north.

      1. “We have already apologized several times for Justin Bieber”

        1. “We have already apologized several times for Justin Bieber”

          Let’s be honest. It’s never enough.

    5. How are we supposed to preen with our moral superiority otherwise? Also, most channels simply carry US programming, so when it gets pre-empted, what are you gonna do?

      Speaking of preening, in case I miss PM Links, remember he story about how horribly racist Canadians are from yesterday?

      At least we don’t live in a country of white supremacy.

      Mention white supremacy in America the next time the conversation turns to the U.S. presidential election, and watch what happens.

      Heads avert, a few eyes roll, and the conversation resumes, unruffled, after a few polite smiles.

      The phrase is regarded as extreme ? a gross exaggeration of problems America has, after all, tried to solve.

      Why, the president of the United States himself is black, and he never uses terms like white supremacy.

      Which is interesting in itself, because it goes to show the extent to which the American polity is gamed for white ascendancy.

      1. The phrase is regarded as extreme ? a gross exaggeration of problems America has, after all, tried to solve.

        No, the phrase indicates to a sane listener that the speaker of said phrase is a few fries short of the happy meal. What do you do when a crazy person goes full crazy? You politely ignore them and continue what you were previously doing.

      2. Which is interesting in itself, because it goes to show the extent to which the American polity is gamed for white ascendancy.

        I guess these idiots don’t realize that “The Trial” was supposed to be a dystopian social commentary, not a lifestyle guide.

  6. SUDERMAN! [shakes Fist]

  7. Pretty sure Kaine’s debate performance demonstrated something similar about Hillary.

  8. What Kaine said was false:

    Donald Trump and Mike Pence have said he’s a great leader.

    Neither Trump nor Pence have said that. By your own quotes, they have said he’s a stronger leader than Barack Obama. That is very different than saying he is a great leader.

    So the premise of this article is false. This is simply not true:

    So Pence was unable or unwilling to defend Donald Trump?except by pretending that neither he nor Trump said what they most definitely said.

    Sorry, Peter. This was a swing and a miss.

    1. It’s the thought that counts.

      1. Apparently, though, its the lack of thought that gets published.

        A more accurate angle would have been that Kaine mischaracterized what Trump and Pence said, and Pence did a crappy job of turning that back on him.

        1. “…and Pence did a crappy job of turning that back on him.”

          If he had tried to defend that continuous stream of attacks he would have wasted the whole debate. It’s exactly what Hillary did to Donald in the first debate. HRC’s team tried the same approach again, but Pence was ready for it. So Kaine came off looking like an obnoxious jerk.

          And let’s face it, nothing Pence said would have kept a chunk of the media from writing the articles they are going to write anyway. Look at this Suderman piece. It’s demonstrably false.

          Saying someone is a “stronger leader than Obama” is not the same as saying they are a great leader. If I said that Suderman is a better journalist than Sabrina Erdely, I have not called Suderman a great journalist.

    2. “Bright and talented” is as close as it gets. I’d have to call that praise.

      Although one could say Stalin was bright and talented at accomplishing what he set out to accomplish. Hell, I’d say that. That doesn’t mean I’m praising the butcher.

      1. It’s hard to know how bright and talented Stalin was though. Either he was one of the greatest backroom politicians ever or he just was just a big bully who was feared by the some of the aspy intellectuals of politiburro who underestimated how scared they should have been.

        1. Either he was one of the greatest backroom politicians ever or he just was just a big bully who was feared by the some of the aspy intellectuals of politiburro who underestimated how scared they should have been.

          Paul Johnson in “Modern Times” classified him as a consummate gangster whose utter ruthlessness allowed him to take control of the Soviet Union after Lenin died. True believers like Trotsky were a lot more focused on implementing revolutionary communism, killing middle-class Russians, and fighting enemies from outside, so they weren’t intellectually equipped to handle someone from the inside who considered them an enemy, too. That’s also why he was able to so easily manipulate FDR.

          1. It also helped that the FDR administration was filled with pinkos, Communists, and Soviet agents.

            1. Good luck getting any of the lovers of FDR to admit they were almost completely infiltrated with agents and sympathizers committing acts against the USA.

    3. Suderman was just being so literal with what Trump and Pence said.

      It is amusing to see one Reason writer decry media spin tactics as being distractions from real issues one day and another write a whole post based on one the very next day.

      In context what Trump said was in support of foreign policy toward Russia that was very much like what most of the writers were advocating during the Crimean Annexation.

      1. Suderman was just being so literal with what Trump and Pence said.

        This wasn’t even being hyper-literal. This was a flat mischaracterization of what they said. “Stronger leader than Barack Obama” =/= “great leader”.

        1. “Literal”may not be the best term for the tactic, but I was calling back to Shackford’s post yesterday afternoon on how the media were treating Trump’s PTSD comments. Suderman seems to be doing the same sort of thing here.

        2. I mean, you have to remember that the author is still sold on Obama as a great leader, so you can see where he would make that leap.

      2. But he wasn’t even being literal. In neither case is Putin called great – in first quote he’s just called “a leader, unlike what we have [in US]”, in second he’s called “stronger leader than Obama”.

        1. and he said “at least”, which implies a great many faults not up for debate.

    4. Let’s not argue and bicker over people’s actual words.

    5. And they are both using Putin’s “strength” to denounce Obama, the implication being that the US is lacking a “strong” leader like Putin.

      But they didn’t say great, so Trump and Pence are clear!

      1. That’s just observing an objective fact. Compare shirtless bear-wrestling Putin with Barack Obama’s sad attempt to throw the first pitch at a baseball game. Putin certainly has the advantage in being able to impart force using his muscles.

      2. So, what, you want to go after Trump for things he didn’t say now?

        1. What do expect? The blatant lying and spinning of what Trump HAS said has not worked to date.

  9. What’s the over/ under on number of comments before the first unironic use of the word “cosmo” or “cosmotarian”?

    1. doesn’t yours count?

      1. Hmm… Does that really count as an unironic use though? Where’s one of our resident grammar snobs? I need a ruling over here.

    2. You just did it. (throws stone)

    3. This is why we do double blind studies, Asshole. Taint! Taint! Taint!

    4. Are we not supposed to call cosmo a cosmo?

      I smell a cosmo.

      Cosmo.

  10. Saying Putin is a strong leader is NOT necessarily praise. Saddam Hussein was a strong leader.
    Now it wouldn’t surprise me that a lot of people on the right don’t actually get confused into thinking that equates him with awesome.
    The Left often thinks a guy like Chavez or Castro or Stalin were awesome and they were strong leaders.
    Let’s face it. What these aspiring candidates have in common is that they never say anything of substance.

    1. Interesting point, that some people equate “strong” leader with “great” leader. You’d think this would be a tell for (latent?) authoritarianism.

      Kaine did. So did Suderman.

      1. You’re overthinking it a bit.

        Obama is a great leader.
        Trump thinks Putin is a better leader than Obama.
        Trump therefore thinks Putin is a great leader.

        It’s just the usual skewed axioms.

        1. The key premise there being “Obama is a great leader”. Somehow, I wouldn’t be surprised if Suderman thought that.

          1. Somehow, I wouldn’t be surprised if Suderman thought that.

            To be fair, Suderman’s been bagging on the man’s signature policy achievement for several years now. I highly doubt he considers Obama to be a great leader.

            1. I’m pretty sure Suderman’s Obamacare articles are just him trying to regurgitate whatever Megan explained to him over coffee that morning.

      2. But isn’t being authoritarian and getting your country into wars the definition of a great leader throughout history ?

        1. Most historians give TR props for that.

      3. I was about to write that very thought after I scrolled through the comments. Thank you, RC.

  11. It should have been just 90 minutes of each of them vying to be a more tender lover to the other.

    1. I have to admit objectively speaking Pence looks like the more caring lover, but boring so missionary forever. Kaine looks like he would try anything once or twice, but seems like he might what to constantly switch an positions at an annoying rate.

      1. Yeah, Kaine is all rubber gloves, vibrating eggs and surprise anal.

    2. ewwwwwwww

      1. Mike Pence gives you all the eye contact you crave, girl.

        1. But he doesn’t blink, it’s unnerving.

          1. You want him to blink? Oh, he’ll blink. He’ll blink you til the break of dawn.

            1. please stop

              pretty please?

              1. He’ll stop if you want. But only after you’ve been penced.

    3. Race Bannon: “I respect the Joker a great deal.”
      Joker: *nods* “It’s mutual.”

      Exeunt thousands of Proto-Bannons, to appear again in the potential Vice-presidential slacks moments later.

    4. Coming soon: the SugarFree slashfic version of the VP “debate”.

      1. A painting of pleasure on the canvas of flesh.

        1. Delicate watercolors and bold oils of desire. A Pollock under blacklight of forbidden passion undreamt by man or the lusty beasts. A shuddering explosion. Fireworks in the deep black of space. The thump-thump-thump of mighty hearts beating as one.

      2. [ after a pensive moment taps out on typewriter: ]

        It was a dark and stormy orifice….

  12. Yes, all politicians exaggerate, and most of them lie, some more than others.
    1. Trump is not a politician.
    2. Clinton lied under oath to Congress and the FBI and DOJ have let her skate.

    But Trump is wholly and completely untethered from reality, and so are his senior aides and surrogates.
    As opposed to being serial liars and complicit in extrajudicial assassinations and coup-d’etats and then cackling about it.

    This is what makes the idea of a Trump presidency so worrying.
    Meanwhile your ignorance of Clinton’s criminality astounds even the most casual libertarian observer.

    With Trump as president, it would be impossible to have an objective discussion about, well, anything.
    Thank God Clinton is so open and honest. We can be assured objectivity will be a core principle of her administration.

    And based on all the evidence so far, this would not only hold true with Trump himself, but with his circle of advisers and spokespersons, his policymakers and implementers.
    As opposed to the frank, open nature of Hillary sycophants.

    1. This “Trump isn’t a politician” bullshit has to end.

      1. He’s an aspirant. He’s not a politician until he holds office, in my opinion.

      2. What political office has Trump run for and/or held- Ever?

        So he is now a politician because he is running for office.

        1. If you’ve never been one before, but apply for a job as a bus driver, are you a “bus driver” before you get hired? I don’t think so.

  13. Peter, I’ve re-read the Trump and Pence quotes a few times, and I still can’t find the part where they said Putin is a “great leader.” I see them saying that he’s a better leader than Obama, but that’s quite a bit different than saying he’s a great leader. Would you please point the relevant parts out out to us peons?

  14. Okay, Pete, far be it from me to defend anything “Trump,” but technically speaking, Pence didn’t lie based upon your evidence.

    He denied the allegation that:

    Donald Trump and Mike Pence have said he’s a great leader.

    And as proof to the contrary, you cite:

    Trump called Putin “bright and talented” and “he’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

    1. As I can attest to, based upon 20 years in the AF, bright and talented people are not necessarily great leaders.
    2. Saying Putin is a better leader than Obama, is pretty goddamned far from calling him a great leader.

    And then you cite:

    Pence said, “I think it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.”

    Strong leaders don’t equate to great leaders, it’s just one of the attributes that make a good leader. Hitler was a strong leader. Was he a great leader? The Pence quote was certainly more of slam against Obama’s weakness than it was an endorsement of Putin.

    1. Pence didn’t even call Putin a “strong leader,” he just said he was stronger than Obama. Since we can assume Pence has a low opinion of Obama, this most definitely doesn’t imply that Pence thinks that Putin is objectively a strong leader.

      1. Logic is hard.

  15. I heard Trump was stealing loose milk crates.

    1. From Mexican grocery stores.

  16. Trigger Warning, Deadspin link:

    After Donald Trump’s disaster of a debate performance last week, you’d think he’d be happy to get any sort of positive press at all. But according to multiple people citing sources close to the campaign?Donald Trump is furious at being outperformed by Mike Pence.

    I mean it’s deadspin and sounds completely implausible, yet I somehow believe it. I can’t wait for the tell-all books from this campaign.

    1. I see Deadspin continues down the path of being a politics blog rather than a sports blog that began when Commie Craggs started publishing there.

      1. Same thing happened with Grantland and with Bill Simmons in general. His new site is to the left of the nyt

        1. The Ringer is nearly insufferable. Grantland was never as bad partly because it was held in check by ESPN mostly.

          1. The Ringer is nearly insufferable. They produce more culture articles than anything else at this point and the sports takes have gotten tied into it. It’s so bad.

  17. “Last December, for example, Trump called Putin “bright and talented” and “he’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.” In September of this year, Trump said that Putin “has been a leader far more than our president [Obama] has been.”

    I’ll defend that statement without lying.

    When Putin engages with the outside world, he appears to do so with his primary concern being the realist interests of the Russian state. That’s a basic assumption of leadership–and in that specifically realist sense, Putin has been a true leader. Want examples?

    1) Putin bailed Obama out of Obama foolishly painting himself into a corner on his red line statement regarding Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

    2) Contrast Putin with Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Obama traded away American security interests and the leverage to press for them–in exchange for good hopes, broken promises, and magic beans. And then he sent the Iranians plane loads of $1.4 billion in cold hard cash!

    3) Obama made a climate change deal with the world that is to the advantage of China and India–and to the detriment of the United States. In fact, I believe that Obama favors that deal specifically because it’s to the detriment of the United States. Obama wants to punish the American economy for being selfish vis a vis CO2 emissions and climate change; i.e., Obama wants the U.S. to be held to stricter standards than our competitors.

    1. There are three honest examples of Obama being a terrible leader vis a vis Putin.

      I hope Suderman and others can see that this is not really a praise of Putin–it’s an indictment against Obama. If Putin is honestly, actually, truly a better leader than Obama in regards to pushing for his country’s interests on the world stage, then that isn’t a reason for Putin to be proud of himself. That’s a reason for Obama and his supporters to be ashamed.

      1. It has nothing to do with either Putin or Obama; it’s a feeble attempt to mischaracterize Trump. Trump says enough odd things on his own without the staff making up shit. So does his opponent, a habit of hers that spans 30+ years in the public arena.

    2. Thanks to the Petition Project effort by genuine scientists, Hell will freeze before the Senate ratifies he Kyoto Transfer Payments from noncommunists to Red China. So the Kenyan (his label, not mine) strikes a personal handshake deal letting the looter press elsewhere (where there is no other press and the LP is illegal) to claim These States are signatory to the swindle. Such pressure might get some teetering socialist satrapies to fall for the sting. That, after all, is the whole purpose of fraud…

  18. I’m sorry, we’re gonna need 4 or 5 more posts about Kaine’s performance before we can tolerate a post about Pence.

  19. Yes, all politicians exaggerate, and most of them lie, some more than others

    Some not nearly as much as the woman whose grandparents all immigrated here before her mother named her after Sir Edmund Hillary, who after being turned down by the Marine Corps dodged sniper fire on the tarmac in Bosnia, then left the White House dead broke, and complied with every law and policy in regards to records retention as Secretary Of State, right?

    1. Well done. When you peel away all the lies, there is no one there. Hillary is Chauncy Gardner.

    2. So… what kind of retention are we talking here?

  20. …you do realize this is an election with more than one person running, right Suderman? And that the other person has literally claimed to have dodged sniper fire in Bosnia, to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary, and any number of verifiably untrue things?

    FFS. This isn’t even the most dishonest thing a politician has said in the last 5 minutes, even assuming the most uncharitable interpretation of Trump and Pence’s statements. Nice to see that the media Suderman’s a part of is still so willing to cover for every other politician in America.

  21. Trump called Putin “bright and talented” and “he’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.” In September of this year, Trump said that Putin “has been a leader far more than our president [Obama] has been.”

    What’s false in all of that? It stands to reason that Putin is bright and talented. He didn’t trip and fall into the Russian presidency. Obama’s a total piece of shit and terrible leader. Putin is clearly skilled at being a leader, albeit in the political culture of Russia where his brand of leadership is considered acceptable. In fact, Putin is downright angelic compared to what Russian politics usually produce.

    1. The CIA’s Holy War Bush makes it to Prez, so the KGB’s top torturer gets to be Supreme Dictator of the Former Soviet Union. Monkey-see monkey doo…
      Back in the old days before the LP, “both” wings of The Kleptocracy imitated Soviet and East German policies like a mime-and-mirror show.

  22. I have absolutely no idea what in the world “unbound government” means. It sounds to me like something Pete Macadoodle Suderweigel probably made up in a effort to make himself sound very smart (he failed miserably).

    As far as the much more meaningful unaccountable government goes, we already have that right now with PMS’s hero Obama in charge of things, so not a whole lot of difference.

    1. Pete Macadoodle Suderweigel

      Oh, but you outdo yourself…

      1. The best guess that I can come up with is that “unbound government” is supposed to be an fancy-sounding way of saying out-of-control government, or unlimited and tyrannical government. Again, we already have that right now, so I don’t give much credence to his comical faux outrage.

        When I hear “unbound”, the first thing I tend to think of is Prometheus Unbound. Never until today have I ever in my life heard an actual human being use the expression “unbound government”.

  23. M. Suderman has again shone a spotlight on the jejeune vulgarians with his sharply honed wit and – most importantly – his soft-body contours and sensible shoes as not to be mistaken for a muscled, befouled barbarian who inhabits those blasted lands outside of the Eastern shores.

    — Virginia Postrel in a sing-songy shrill

    1. They should hire you this instant.

  24. Geez US just attacked Syrian army for over an hour then our moderate jihadis followed up with ground attack. Obama cannot control the Pentagon or his new Sect of Defense .At least Vlad controls his army. Putin has outmaneuvered Obama at every turn. The British and American people agreed with Vlad that Assad is better than ISIS. Similarly, Lavrov has bested Kerry. The Crimean people are happy to be back in Russia. Ukraine is still a mess because its government is totally corrupt and is not following Minsk accords that Putin brokered. United Russia just rocked Russia’s internationally observed elections.
    No, Russia is not libertarian. Socially conservative to be sure. But low taxes and little public debt is a good thing. It’s international interventions have been defensive and generally benign, compared to US. Russia has maybe 3 journalists in jail. 2/3 of slain journalists happened under our boy Yeltsin . Our ally Poland arrested anti NATO opposition leaders during recent exercises.
    Stop being neocons Reason!

    1. Hey look everybody! It’s an honest to goodness Putin apologist!

      *grabs camera*

      1. He’s baaaaaaack!

      2. Now that’s how you praise Putin! See any difference, Suderman?

  25. Just when we get a very sensible article from Shack about the media double standard and their dishonest treatment of Trump, here comes Peter to give us a good solid dose of the double standard and dishonesty.

    1. He should stick to writing Obamacare articles that no one has the patience to read.

      1. Except his Obamacare articles are middling, at best. At least from a libertarian perspective. Suderman’s schtick seems to be writing about how terrible and awful Obamacare is and then treating any attempt to repeal it as something akin to beating up an old lady.

        1. His trite schtick is to repeat the tired JournoList lie that the republicans are bad for wanting to repeal Obamacare because they don’t have any comprehensive plan of their own.

          It’s dishonest bullcrap, like almost everything that comes out of Suderman’s mouth. The republicans do in fact have a set of their own ideas. Whether or not those ideas would do anything at all to improve the existing system and keep costs under control is certainly fair game for debate, but the ideas do in fact exist.

          What is true is that Suderman’s hero Obama would never agree to their ideas in a million years, but that’s not at all the same thing as saying they don’t have any ideas at all. In short, Suderman is a lying sack of shit.

  26. You mad at Trump Peter? You wash Obama’s balls so gently when he lies about everything.

    1. The man has written hundreds of articles on Obamacare, but is always careful to isolate it as a critique of policy that has no implications for Obama’s honesty or integrity. But one awkward comparison between Obama and Putin is enough to condemn Trump not only as a liar, but one who is uniquely terrible in modern politics.

      That just beggars belief.

      1. McCuckerman’s wife does his homework.

  27. Lester Holt is wiping his ass with your cocktail invites

  28. unaccountable government

    “Unaccountable” is what you get when someone flagrantly and deliberately disregards something as simple as federal records retention law and is not prosecuted. “Unaccountable” is someone who will be functionally unimpeachable. And we all know who that will be when Her Highness is elected. Don’t get your panties in a twist over The Don, Suderman.

  29. For fuck’s sake Pete, get some help.

  30. *phone rings*

    “Hey Pete!”

    “Dean Baquet from The New York Times here.”

    “Gotta minute?”

  31. Let me guess: tl;dr= Boo Hoo Hoo Trump’s a Big Meanie!, by P Macsuderman.

    I do not believe either of the primary candidates will successfully serve a full term. Kaine has shown himself unequivocally to be a yammering imbecile.

    As a betting man, I would put a few bob on a Pence come-from-behind win.

  32. Wow, Pence must have really crushed Kaine, if the reaction from the Reason leftists is any indication.

  33. “Trump can only be defended by lying”

    Which doesn’t distinguish him in any from Hillary as the same thing is true for her as well.

  34. Peter skillfully feigns surprise and discomfiture at the GO-Pee Veep-wannabee’s facile approach to lying, stealing and the initiation of force. But these are exactly the entrenched practices that make the difference between Libertarian Party candidates and God’s Own Prohibitionists.
    The clearest message in the article is that if the pro-choice candidate slips on a wet running board, these anti-choice creeps may succeed in Making America Grate Again.

  35. Wow. Does Suderman read the comments on his articles? He’s been reamed so thoroughly here that he’ll have to wear diapers from now on.

  36. Yes, all politicians exaggerate, and most of them lie, some more than others. But Trump is wholly and completely untethered from reality, and so are his senior aides and surrogates. This is what makes the idea of a Trump presidency so worrying. With Trump as president, it would be impossible to have an objective discussion about, well, anything.

    Ugh, it’s so lazy to just launch ad homs against people you dislike or disagree with, although it’s hard to tell if you really disagree since you don’t argue against actual statements in good faith or even just contrast your own positions against those you think Trump takes. I mean, seriously, “untethered from reality”? Are you actually saying that you think Donald Trump is suffering from a dissociative disorder? Or are you just saying that he lies a lot? If the latter, I’d argue that he is certainly no less honest than Clinton, and possibly moreso, although that’s a very low bar.

    And speaking of objective discussions, do you think lambasting strawmen is a good way to promote those?

  37. Why does this matter, exactly?

    1. Because the Hillary-issued talking points instruct their followers to link Trump to Putin as frequently as possible in order to distract from the fact that, as Secretary of State and head of the Clinton Foundation, Hillary accepted millions and millions of dollars from Russia and, among other things, allowed it to acquire massive amounts of uranium.

  38. “Pence’s denial is provably false.”

    From all the Trump comments on the subject I can google-fu, Trump has said Putin is:
    -Smart
    -Talented
    -“At least” _a_ leader
    -Better than Obama

    He did not say he was a “great” leader as Kaine puts it, so Pence is right.

    Though Kaine being from “Blue Tribe” I can see how Kaine would interpret Trump saying Putin was better than Obama to be the equivalent of Trump saying Putin was the best leader the world has ever seen, but that’s just a problem with how Kaine’s team views Obama, not Trump’s comments.

  39. So how does Bill Weld propose to go about defending Hillary Clinton without lying? Just curious how that’s going to work.

  40. http://www.thefrisky.com/2016-…..el-charms/

    Bizarre hit piece on Mike Pence’s wife. This has to be one of the biggest steaming piles I’ve seen.

  41. Remember when Reason wasn’t a shill for corrupt politicians? Pepperidge farm remembers.

  42. He’s not only defensible by lying. He’s also defensible by projecting your hopes onto him while pretending you don’t see evidence to the contrary, and also by holding him up in comparison to Hillary.

  43. Because Putin exerts authoritarian strength and Obama is obsequious to foreign rulers, Trump and Pence are the problematic pair? No! Trump is showing that strength of leadership is needed instead of the namby, pamby excuse of a so-called president that is the NWO puppet. You are misinterpreting and should be ashamed of yourself. As a Libertarian, I want a strong, CONSTITUTIONAL government, not the socialist/Marxist regime that Hillary envisions.

  44. Trump can only be defended by lying? One more thing he has in common with Hillary.

    -jcr

  45. Trumpkins whining because Trump is being criticized…

  46. “detachment from reality is a recipe for unbound and unaccountable government.”

    As opposed to what? What we have now under Obama or what a Hillary Clinton would bring?

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