Trump 2016 Worse Than Whalen 2006: Thune Should Disendorse

Pat Powers evidently thinks columnist Tom Lawrence is gaining weight:

Screen cap, Dakota War College, 2016.08.09 ~18:51 CDT
Screen cap, Dakota War College, 2016.08.09 ~18:51 CDT

As usual, Pat’s headline misstates the truth. Tom Lawrence informs me he’s actually shed a few pounds this summer.

Further as usual, Pat’s headline buries the real story. Tom Lawrence likens Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s current campaign of lies and outrages to the despicable and disastrous tactics of Republican Bruce Whalen in South Dakota’s 2006 U.S. House race:

Back in 2006, Whalen’s campaign went down the drain when Breard spread rumors that Herseth was a home-wrecker, breaking up the marriage of then-Texas Congressman Max Sandlin, and/or that she was pregnant by her chief of staff.

The lies were so outrageous, Whalen’s campaign collapsed.

Herseth did marry Sandlin in 2007, but it was years after his first marriage had ended. And Herseth was not pregnant then, either. When Breard was caught pitching those bogus stories to reporters, his candidate’s long-shot chances was ruined, and his reputation shattered.

Some of Trump’s claims have been equally absurd, causing Republicans great distress and Democrats to point to polls and smile. He is trailing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by a large margin in recent polls, and Republicans running for Congress are eager to distance themselves from him this fall [Tom Lawrence, “Political Veterans Leery of Out-of-Control Campaigns,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2016.08.09].

Tom Lawrence perhaps overstates the comparison. Whalen’s campaign, already a wreck, was doomed by the offensive lies spread by his campaign manager. The GOP leaders who found that bad behavior sufficient reason to distance themselves from Whalen in 2006 are not seeking similar distance between themselves and their beyond-the-pale Presidential nominee, whose outrages come directly from his own mouth in nearly every non-scripted public pronouncement. Senator John Thune, Senator Mike Rounds, and Representative Kristi Noem have explicitly and repeatedly endorsed Donald Trump. Thune fretted gently last week about Trump’s insulting comments about Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Thune offered similar limp criticism of Trump’s mouth in June after the Orlando shooting, but Trump’s established and unchanging pattern of behavior has not moved Thune or his GOP colleagues away from their endorsement of Trump in any discernible way.

South Dakota’s Republicans certainly haven’t Whalened on Trump the way Maine Senator Susan Collins did yesterday, declaring that Trump’s pattern of behavior shows he’s unfit for the Presidency:

With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize. But it was his attacks directed at people who could not respond on an equal footing — either because they do not share his power or stature or because professional responsibility precluded them from engaging at such a level — that revealed Mr. Trump as unworthy of being our president [Senator Susan Collins, “Why I Cannot Support Trump,” Washington Post, 2016.08.09].

Pat Powers, of course, can’t even address the comparison of Whalen and Trump. In his usual non-committal evasion that characterizes any post on his party’s indefensible Presidential pick, he suggests Trump’s outrages are just matters of perception and hides behind the assertion that he’s still better than the alternative:

It’s a difficult tightrope candidates must navigate as they walk over political minefields of supporting (or avoiding) candidates who say foolish things. And was no different now than it was back then.

As has been noted several times, as bad as Trump might come off, Hillary is worse.  Should the outrageous void any scolding for not being behind “our guy?”

For those making the decision to support Trump or not now, that tightrope is still there, just as it was in 2006 [Pat Powers, “Ton [sic] Lawrence Compares the Campaign of 2006 to the Campaign of 2016,” Dakota War College, 2016.08.09].

Donald Trump doesn’t maybe “come off” bad. He is bad. Donald Trump is Bruce Whalen cubed and unleashed on the national stage. Donald Trump is a threat to American values and security. If Thune and Rounds had the moral acuity to duck public appearances with Whalen in 2006, they should be able to link arms with Susan Collins and disavow Trump now.

31 Responses to Trump 2016 Worse Than Whalen 2006: Thune Should Disendorse

  1. Darin Larson

    If Thune, Rounds and Noem don’t pull their endorsements of Trump, I hope political opponents running against these three trumpet against their spineless buffoonery from now until eternity. When Trump said he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and not lose any votes, apparently he was speaking about our feckless politicians from SD.

    Well, he hasn’t shot someone yet, but he now is suggesting that someone could shoot Clinton or her appointed judges.

    Only a person that puts party over country would still endorse Trump after all the reckless, dangerous comments and bigoted, divisive, misogynistic rhetoric from this bile spewer.

  2. mike from iowa

    NRA bought $3 million for ads saying HRC is taking your guns. They appear to be the only major player supporting Drumpf. Awwwwww shucky darn.

  3. To disavow Trump would take political courage. When was the last time our SD delegation demonstrated political courage and not just spouted daily talking points? Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler? Anyone…

  4. bearcreekbat

    If I was running against Thune or Noem the first words out of my mouth would always be:

    “I am running against Trump supporter Thune/Noem because I want to do [X] for our state and because I believe the people of our state disagree with [list any of the crazy stuff Trump has promised or said].”

    Since Trump is now the national leader of the Republicans this association seems imminently reasonable and fair.

  5. mike from iowa

    I’m backing Drumpf solely for party lunac……. unity.

  6. Just say I am voting against Photo op and lip service,

  7. David Newquist

    During the 2006 campaign, the SD GOP made clear that it wasn’t supporting Bruce Whalen, and he often noted that, but it wasn’t because of the defamations Lee Breard spread about Stephanie Herseth. The lack of support was because Whalen lived in Pine Ridge and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Breard’s crude defamations gave a pretext for the GOP disavowal of Whalen. That ad hominem ploy had worked before. Bread was trying to copy the success of the defamatory ploy that the Thune campaign used against Tom Daschle.

    The absolutely false charge that Herseth was a home breaker who lured Max Sandlin away from his family was a poor man’s attempt to imitate the full-page newspaper ad that Thurne ran late in his campaign against Daschle accusing Dashle of having dumped his first wife for a beauty queen.

    As Thune had a legislative record in the House that is remarkable only for its stunning fecklessness, Wadham and Lauck devised a campaign based on character assassination and an appeal to the South Dakota resentment of people who leave the state and actually accomplish things. They gambled that there were more voters who were resentful and dull-minded than there were voters who possessed a bit of cognitive light. It also worked for Noem when she portrayed Herseth Sandlin, a Blue Dog dissident, as hand maiden of Nancy Pelosi.

    Trump simply brought malevolent defamation as a campaign technique to the national level. It is a matter of finding ways to allow voters to indulge a preference for stupidity and a hateful resentment that sometimes lurks deep in the human soul.

  8. Darin Larson

    Trump is looking more like a guy whose heart is not in the campaign any more. I watched his speech today and even when the coal minors were chanting “lock her up” there didn’t appear to be joy in mudville. Mighty Trump has struck out with his hateful rhetoric. I think he is hearing from a lot of folks in the Republican party that he is a disaster and that he is a looming disaster for the party as a whole if he doesn’t button up his crazy rhetoric.

    Trump just said he has never ran before when he did run on the Reform party ticket for president in 2000. He aborted his candidacy.

    Trump lies for a living:

  9. Darin Larson

    correction: they were coal miners, not kids that mine coal

  10. Roger Cornelius

    In Susan Collins comments yesterday she also said she could not and would not vote for Hillary. She said she would either do a write-in or vote for Gary Johnson.
    This is part of an interesting dynamic that has been gaining steam over the past week or so. There seem to be a number of republicans that won’t support Trump nor will they support Hillary.
    Even the fifty republican foreign policy advisors that signed the letter damning Trump are not all supporting Hillary.
    If this trend is real, Trump is trouble, republicans splitting votes among Gary Johnson or write-ins will basically be votes thrown away.

  11. mike from iowa

    Guess whose campaign got some visits from the Secret Service about his inflamatory langwidge towards HRC and guess which pelt wearing candidate denied the meetings took place?

    Former CIA director Hayden said if it had been anyone besides Drumpf making those statements they would have been in the back of a cop being interviewed by SS.

  12. mike from iowa

    Can those of us who said early on that Drumpf was dangerously unfit to serve as Potus, take our bows now? Chortle, snarf, guffaw.

  13. mike from iowa

    One more thing, after Drumpf’s really bad day, he ran right over to Hannity and had his Molly’s coddled on teevee. That is about all Hannity is good for.

    Of course being Drumpf- his whine was the absolute best ever.

  14. Trump is the very worst candidate on the Presidential ballot. He is the greatest of all evils. To endorse Trump should mean sharing responsibility for his brand of wreckless irresponsibly with words. Thank God he’s never had anything to do with policy.

  15. As usual, Dr. Newquist offers a very important challenge to the mythology Republicans would peddle and which too many of us fall for. They engage in character assassination whenever it suits their purposes. They used one scurrilous public statement as an excuse to cut loose a Republican candidate whom they apparently were already pre-disposed against.

    Donald Trump has waged a campaign of character assassination and falsehoods, yet the SDGOP leaders keep making excuses to support him.

  16. I think Trump has become even more delusional. We are watching the sad results of mental illness play out on the national stage. Trump is Howard Beale in the movie “Network” that is self destructing on live tee vee. The reality star cannot handle the reality of getting his arse kicked by anyone, little alone, a woman. Trump’s staying power is that even though he is slipping, he still speaks the dog whistles of the republican base voter. It must be the lead in our water. Thune and NOem know that by denying Trump, they will unite the unhinged in South Dakota to turn on them big time, they will stay the course and love every minute of it.

  17. Article: very well written.
    Affect: SD voter doesn’t care. Thune has an “R” after his name on the ballot and, therefore, will carry West River by 80% or more and will receive a split East River. Hence the result.
    Required Action: SD Democratic Party seek and procure financial and personnel assistance to work and attain an attitudinal change in the voter of SD. Is this an achievable objective?

  18. Jerry, I wish I could paint a more optimistic picture of Thune’s and Noem’s possible moral leadership on this issue. But as Paladn notes, most of their base won’t care, and as you note, unendorsing would actually turn some of them away. Funny that they would cling so tightly to the support of people so wrong, but I guess for them, it’s just about numbers, money, and power.

    Paladn, I’d like to think that’s perfectly achievable, especially if Team Clinton gets off its can and launches a serious 50-state strategy focused not just on beating Trump but ensuring down-ticket synergy. And Sanders, too—shake that money tree, make it rain on all the candidates who support the progressive agenda. I don’t know if that secures an attitude change, but maybe it does mobilize the progressive voters we need to outnumber the Trumpists at the polls this year and to keep those voters engaged in every subsequent election.

  19. Roger Cornelius

    It is possible to flip South Dakota this year.
    Yesterday Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight produced a map showing that if the election were held today South Dakota would turn blue.
    If South Dakota Independents and some republicans are exhausted by Trump’s dangers, it could very well affect the down ticket candidates.

  20. Cory, I raised the issue before as have others on he Clinton money bomb the downticket was supposed to be getting. One commenter calld me a troll for such questioning. The fact is that we could do a lot here if we had the money to do so as Roger points out, 538 says it is possible.

  21. mike from iowa

    Drumpf spokesweaselwoman. Katrina Pierson, claims that it was Obama that invaded Afghanistan in 2009, not dumbass dubya.

    How do these people manage to stay conscious w/o breathing?

  22. Hillary is no better than Trump. The latest on her emails does not look good at all. Have you heard of Gilbert Chagoury, a very wealthy Nigerian Lebanese that has given millions to their foundation and has been the guy that is mentioned in some of the emails and that needs “to be taken care of” as in a job or influencing the State Dept. Not good, so not good at all. Can’t vote for her.

    The only one with any decency was Sanders, now there’s no one.

  23. I disagree, there is nothing at all that compares to Trump. Clinton may be many things, but she isnot a nazi.

  24. Jerry, I disagree with you slightly. There is a person/people who are similar to Trump: American conservatives. They are at least the ‘most similar’ to Trump of all the people, and I really think Trump is who most of them wish they could be. And, boy oh boy, if his supporters were ever in Trumps shoes, they just hope to God they could be as authenticly wreckless as Trump is – and really stick it to those Liberals every time they talk.

    Hillary is to Trump like a vaccine is to an incoming viral epidemic.

  25. bearcreekbat

    Jenny, The New York Times gives a different report about the Chagoury emails.

    But Mark Corallo, a Washington-based spokesman for Mr. Chagoury, said in a statement Wednesday that Mr. Chagoury had been seeking to contact someone in the State Department to offer his insight into the coming elections that June in 2009 in Lebanon, where he has deep ties and experience. He had not been seeking official action by the State Department.

    “He was simply passing along his observations and insights about the dire political situation in Lebanon at the time,” Mr. Corallo said.

    Mr. Corallo said no conversations ever took place.

    Mr. Chagoury, he said, “has had no personal contact with Secretary Clinton or any of her staff since 2006. He has never met or had any contact with Ambassador Feltman. He had no contact of any kind with anyone from the State Department regarding the subject matter of the emails between Mr. Band and Ms. Abedin.”

    If that tidbit turns you against Hillary, you likely had already jumped on the hate wagon against the woman that Gallop found to be the most admired woman in the world 20 times including the last 14 years in a row, and the woman about whom President Obama remarked: “There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton.”

  26. bcb, you’re going to believe a spokesman for Chagoury? BCB, you are not that naïve are you?
    Believe whatever you want, I’ve disliked her for several years now, and I absolutely believe that a big donor would be given a favor in return. This kind of stuff happens all the time in politics and the business world. That’s why I say the Clintons are no better than Trump. Their thirst for power holds no boundaries .

  27. bearcreekbat

    Jenny, why shouldn’t I believe him? Can you identify evidence that he was being untruthful in his statement?

  28. bearcreekbat

    And I guess I was right that you are already on the hate Hillary bandwagon. Unfortunately this suggests that you only believe stories that fit you pre-existing narrative.

  29. Roger Cornelius

    Just a few points to make:

    To quote Sanders one more time, “I don’t give a damn about Hillary’s emails”.
    Sanders is no longer a presidential candidate.
    Even former President Richard Nixon could not have been involved in as many scandals as Hillary is accused of.
    If the anti-Hillary crowd wants to recycle FOX “News” propaganda go for it. If they don’t want to vote for Hillary don’t.
    If you don’t like Hillary or Trump, write-in a candidate, every write-in is a vote for Hillary.

  30. Bruce Whalen

    I was terminating Breard for not informing me or gaining my approval about Herseth but my other manager Patrick Davis recommended chalking it up to a young man’s mistake. Church folks from across the state thought Breard went to far but could not find forgiveness toward him. I chose to forgive his young mistake. Support wasn’t much there but ended with my not endorsing McCain or ethanol. I needed Jewell’s services more than Lee’s but they were a nice young energetic package. My regret is not keeping my wife as manager and scheduler. She did great. Overall I didn’t know how to be a candidate. But I would have put on blast every penny added to the national debt and continued to warn that America is being turned into a Giant Reservation. I continue with the warning and Trump seems to point along the same line except from his perspective. I would love to meet Trump to show reservation living just as I did for Thune. The places South Dakotan’s know little about and the world misunderstands. But my 15 minutes of fame is in the trash heap. From the looks of comments here more trash is coming my way.

  31. Mr. Whalen, I’m not going to spend time sending the garbage truck on a delivery run to your house… but wouldn’t it be fascinating to get Trump to come here and visit Pine Ridge or Lower Brule?