Sam Tanenhaus on Trump as American Nihilist & Mrs. Clinton as our political salvation, a comment by Political Reporter

It takes real patience to read through Mr. Tanenhaus’ rambling essay, because it seems interminable, although offering some valuable political insights,  but until he reaches the coverage of Trump’s Mechanicsburg appearance, only then does the essay breathes with something like the immediacy of life lived in the present, reported by an observer caught up in the historical moment.

The political chatter of the ‘expert’ is on full display until Mr. Tanenhaus decides to pronounce on Mrs. Clinton: what the reader does get is a collection of sycophantic cliches. One can speak of one American writer, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., whose talent for this brand of political gossip, linked with the self-serving mendacity of the political apologist, displayed in his carefully edited diaries, is matched in these excerpts.

‘She is, by almost any measure, the most accomplished woman in US politics, with a record of idealistic service dating back almost 50 years.’

‘That he has no compensating history of good works like Clinton’s—in civil rights and human rights, family law, women and children’s health—scarcely matters. This is the paradox of politics in 2016: it obsesses the nation, yet has ceased to be the domain of honourable action.’

These 3 examples  as part of the ‘record of idealistic service’ and the ‘ domain of honorable action’?


The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is a United States federal law considered to be a major welfare reform. The bill was a cornerstone of the Republican Contract with America and was introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (RFL-22). President Bill Clinton signed PRWORA into law on August 22, 1996, fulfilling his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we have come to know it”.[1]

PRWORA instituted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which became effective July 1, 1997. TANF replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program—which had been in effect since 1935—and supplanted the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training program (JOBS) of 1988. The law was heralded as a “reassertion of America’s work ethic” by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, largely in response to the bill’s workfare component. TANF was reauthorized in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.


The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, H.R. 3355, Pub.L. 103–322 is an Act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement; it became law in 1994. It is the largest crime bill in the history of the United States and consisted of 356 pages that provided for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and $6.1 billion in funding for prevention programs, which were designed with significant input from experienced police officers.[1] Sponsored by Representative Jack Brooks of Texas, the bill was originally written by Senator Joe Biden of Delaware and then was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Following the 101 California Street shooting, the 1993 Waco Siege, and other high-profile instances of violent crime, the Act expanded federal law in several ways. One of the most noted sections was the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Other parts of the Act provided for a greatly expanded federal death penalty, new classes of individuals banned from possessing firearms, and a variety of new crimes defined in statutes relating to immigration law, hate crimes, sex crimes, and gang-related crime. The bill also required states to establish registries for sexual offenders by September 1997.

3) Not to mention this repeal of Glass-Steagall as the harbinger of Neo-Liberalism’s Golden Age, which lasted 9 years!

The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, (Pub.L. 106–102, 113 Stat. 1338, enacted November 12, 1999) is an act of the 106th United States Congress (1999–2001). It repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, removing barriers in the market among banking companies, securities companies and insurance companies that prohibited any one institution from acting as any combination of an investment bank, a commercial bank, and an insurance company. With the bipartisan passage of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies were allowed to consolidate. Furthermore, it failed to give to the SEC or any other financial regulatory agency the authority to regulate large investment bank holding companies.[1] The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.[2]

A year before the law was passed, Citicorp, a commercial bank holding company, merged with the insurance company Travelers Group in 1998 to form the conglomerate Citigroup, a corporation combining banking, securities and insurance services under a house of brands that included Citibank, Smith Barney, Primerica, and Travelers. Because this merger was a violation of the Glass–Steagall Act and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, the Federal Reserve gave Citigroup a temporary waiver in September 1998.[3] Less than a year later, GLBA was passed to legalize these types of mergers on a permanent basis. The law also repealed Glass–Steagall’s conflict of interest prohibitions “against simultaneous service by any officer, director, or employee of a securities firm as an officer, director, or employee of any member bank”.[4]

The comments on Hillary’s ‘Feminism’ and her appearance with Madeleine Albright, and  the disappeared Gloria Steinem, in New Hampshire. And Albright’s  ‘special place in hell’ remark- what to call this statement by the utterly notorious rationalizer of the death of half a million Iraqi children? but this helps establish Mr. Tanenhaus as Hillary apologist, not an example of an ‘objective journalism’ or even a reporter who makes her/his politics plain from the outset!  Hillary as Feminist Privileged Elder is pure campaign propaganda!

”He meant during the New Hampshire primary, Sanders’s sweeping first victory built on a coalition of the very young, including young women—a deep shock to Clinton and her generation of feminist allies. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” said Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State and one of Clinton’s staunchest allies, as she introduced the candidate at a New Hampshire campaign event. “She’s been saying that as long as I’ve known her, which is about 25 years,” Clinton explained, trying to calm the furore, not realising those 25 years were part of the problem. To the new generation, Clinton is less pioneer than privileged elder.’

Mrs. Clintons record of enthusiastic supporter for the Bill Clinton rapacious Neo-Liberal agenda, a Reagan agenda enacted by a New Democrat, is beyond doubt, but inconvenient to creating an the alternate reality of a record of Hillary’s ersatz Feminism!

One final comment on the 1968 election, as retold by Mr. Tanenhaus, and the 13 million votes cast for George Wallace:

In 1968 I was 23 and was casting my first vote in a presidential race, and recall vividly ,that after Bobby Kennedy was murdered, that a great many of his followers opted to cast their votes for Wallace. It is hard to imagine the why of that, in this time, but recall the political turbulence of that era elided from the narrative confected by Mr. Tanenhaus. Such were the times, so make your judgements not relying on Mr. Tanenhaus’ politically  infused re-description of the past. Seek your answers elsewhere!

Political Reporter

Donald Trump: the American nihilist


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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