President Trump has said many offensive things. He will say many more. Trying to keep up with them all, let alone comment on them, would be an impossible task. Besides, it would detract from matters of substance we should be saying more attention to, such as how he plans to change trade policy, what kind of a commander in chief he is and whether he will really try to reduce the scope of the federal government.But occasionally he says something so dreadful we just have to take exception. His answer to Bill O'Reilly, who had just observed that Vladimir Putin is a killer, certainly qualifies. "Do you think our country’s so innocent?" he said. He's said much the same thing on Joe Scarborough's show ("At least he is a leader. I feel our country has done plenty of killing also"), so he can't claim it's a slip of the tongue. It's what he really believes.
Which is that there is no such thing as American exceptionalism. There is a moral equivalence between America and Putin's Russian regime.
To which Sen. Ben Sasse had the correct response:
Let’s be clear: Has the U.S. ever made any mistakes? Of course. Is the U.S. at all like Putin’s regime? Not at all. The U.S. affirms freedom of speech; Putin is no friend of freedom of speech. Putin is an enemy of freedom of religion, the U.S. celebrates freedom of religion. Putin is an enemy of free press; the U.S. celebrates free press. Putin is an enemy of political dissent; the U.S. celebrates political dissent and the right for people to argue free from violence about places where ideas are in conflict. There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom-loving nation in the history of the world, and the murderous thugs that are in Putin’s defense of his cronyism. There’s no moral equivalency there.
And I see a few people are reaching back to quote William F. Buckley on the subject of moral equivalence:
[T]o say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around.
Trump's comments are really striking when you think of them in conjunction with his "Make America great again" nationalism. It becomes obvious he does not mean "great" in the same sense as say, Ronald Reagan, who urged us to re-embrace the American values that have sustained this country. He means he sees the country as a widget maker in competition with all the other widget-making countries, and he will by God make sure we are the best damn widget maker in the universe. He will try to sell us no grand visions or big dreams. His will be a purely transactional administration. He is a businessman and running the country is his business, and he will just keep making the best deals possible.
I don't know which is worse, his idea that Putin is not so bad, or his attempt to make it seem like we're almost as bad as Putin is. This is the kind of nonsense we're used to getting from the hard left, and it is no easier to take from someone who has sold himself as an embracer of at least some conservative ideas. I didn't like President Obama's "apologize for America" tours, and I don't care much for this, either.
Sooner or later, most presidents have a moment when they have to call the people to stand together, either for a wonderful opportunity or to meet a grave crisis. If you keep telling them they're no better or worse than anybody else in the world, good luck with that.
America is an exceptional country. We need a president who believes that.
ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS
Looks like President Trump eats about the same way I do: "Fast food was a constant. The 'three staples,' in the words of one aide: Domino's, KFC, and McDonald's. Big Macs were served on silver trays in his private jet."
Anybody want to try to make the case that that 84 Lumber Super Bowl ad was not a salute to illegal immigrants and a brazen call for them to come work for the company? Amazing thing to see.
Transgender madness update: Transgender murderer moved from women's prison after having sex with female inmates. So, I guess she is a man who identifies as a woman with lesbian tendencies?
Oh, for the good, old-fashioned three-date rule: Millennials are 48% more likely to have sex before a first date than all other generations of singles: "We have a real misunderstanding of Millennials," she said. "I think they are very career oriented, so sex before the first date could be a sex interview, where they want to know if they want to spend time with this person."
Even after almost three weeks of intensive searching? Hard to believe: Nancy Pelosi says there are no grounds for impeaching President Trump.
This is very disturbing: "The U.S. military's stats on deadly airstrikes are wrong. Thousands have gone unreported"
One side in the debate will accept this on faith. The other will never, ever believe it: "Climate change whistleblower alleges NOAA manipulated data to hide global warming ‘pause’ "
Obama's military gets one last lick in: "Navy’s ‘diversity road map’ lays foundation for multiethnic force protected against discrimination." Dandy. Can we get back to military readiness now, please?
So true, so true: Trump's best asset may be his unhinged opponents. Every riot in the street will get him more votes for a re-election bid. Oh, and don't forget: The Left hates you. So act accordingly.
Funny, it doesn't seem that bad to me: Indiana is the fourth most miserable state in the union.