Monday, May 16, 2016

Trump and Clinton both struggle to tell the truth, rural Virginia columnist says

Curtis Seltzer
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, who are both on verge of securing their parties' nominations for president, are incapable of telling the truth, writes Curtis Seltzer, a Highland County, Virginia, real-estate writer who often dabbles in political topics.

"Clinton appears to have lost the ability to tell the truth about her actions when it would disadvantage her. Trump tells his version of the truth regardless of whether any evidence supports it," Seltzer writes. "Clinton is hiding whatever agenda she has by metastasizing into positions that she once rejected. In the Democratic Party’s game of political hopscotch, she’s now landed in every numbered square at the same time. Trump is obfuscating his policy plans—assuming he has some—by being inarticulate, unresponsive, inconsistent and teasingly hazy. He has raised hide-the-ball politics to a form of abstract art."

"I don’t even mind politicians changing their policies to appeal to more voters to get elected," he writes. "I do mind politicians reneging on their personal promises to the people who elect them. My congressman, Bob Goodlatte, was elected in 1992 on his oft-stated pledge that he would serve no more than six two-year terms. Twelve years after passing his promised deadline, he’s still occupyingthe office that he promised to leave. I’m waiting for Bob Goodlatte to fulfill his promise. With both Clinton and Trump, I get the feeling that all promises will be kept—out of sight and out of mind upon taking office."

"The simplest way of dealing with Big Money buying influence over politicians is to require that any elected or appointed official who accepts anything of value as a gift, fee or campaign contribution must recuse himself/herself from any vote or decision affecting that donor’s interests," Seltzer writes. "With that rule, the quid pro quo of giving money to influence a political decision would end. Donors could expect nothing for their generosity, and recipients would absent themselves from conflicts of interest."

"I take some comfort in the fact that whether it’s Clinton or Trump who wins, neither is likely to have much success in getting their programs through Congress," Seltzer concludes. "I also take some discomfort in the same fact, because it leaves us punting the issues down a field that keeps getting longer. Waiting for a President Clinton to get much of anything done will be akin to waiting for Godot. I will, however, be waiting fearfully for her next big bad judgment. Waiting for a President Trump to be other than who he has always been will also be unrewarded. I will, accordingly, be waiting for him to do something really stupid. We are facing a choice between two individuals who either don’t know who they will be or refuse to say."

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