Mountain Snail

Stuff Ballard Wrote

Author: Durwood (page 1 of 22)

Mark Esper Milquetoast

News-Record & Sentinel, January 2020

In the days leading up to his resignation in 1974, Richard Nixon was a mental mess.   He wasn’t sleeping.  He was drinking heavily.  He made unintelligible calls late at night.  His son-in-law reported that Nixon was talking to portraits of presidents.  He hinted at suicide.

Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger heard the rumors and worried that Nixon might call in the military to rescue his presidency.  Schlesinger notified the Joint Chiefs of Staff and military commanders near D.C. to obey no order from the White House that did not have his signature.  The chain of command would not be short-circuited.

James Schlesinger saw his duty as Secretary of Defense to defend the country, not to defend his boss.

Our current Secretary of Defense is an ex-military (West Point), ex-lobbyist (Raytheon) intellectual named Dr. Mark Esper.

I saw him for the first time on TV after the Turks invaded Syria.  He said, more or less, “The Turks were coming.  We had to get our troops out of harm’s way.”  His undulating body language said, “Give me some slack, guys.  I just work here.”  My exact first thought was, “Oh no.  We don’t have a James Schlesinger.  We’ve got Caspar Milquetoast.” 

He got the same “Please take me to the library” look when reporters asked why we had killed the Iranian general.  Esper said the general was planning an imminent attack on the U.S.  How imminent?  “I think it’s more fair to say days, for sure,” Esper responded.  The wheel desperately spinning in his head could just as easily have landed on “Next Tuesday.”  White House talking points didn’t cover that detail.

A very unfunny political cartoon, by Michael Ramirez, came to my computer after that.  It showed President Trump standing with a squatting dog on his left and a man wearing glasses on his right, squatting exactly like the dog.  Trump’s speech bubble says, “Secretary Esper, I was talking to the dog.”  We’re to understand that Trump gave the command, “Sit!”  Mark’s a good doggy.

In the end, Nixon honored the Constitution.  Trump?  His Nixon-like frenzies come and go like indigestion.  How sure are we that he will vacate the White House peacefully next year?          

Schlesinger was ready to defy his commander-in-chief if he attempted a coup d’état.  So far, Esper has shown himself more likely to direct traffic when the tanks encircle the White House. 

A nation’s greatness is fragile

Asheville Daily Planet, 2/2020

Nothing has been the same since the Invasion.  We never recovered. 

Over the years, historians have written about the “War of Wars” and how it was lost — and nobody has ever really disputed that blame lies squarely with the man known to his followers as The Chosen.  One early historian was specific in his accusation.  The ill-fated Invasion that doomed our nation was for him “to gain in wealth and reputation by means of his successes.”   

Oh, the terrible sadness!  Our nation stood astride the world for over a century, then suddenly our grand experiment with democracy and the bright light of our innovations came to a sudden end.  Our conquerers disarmed us and installed a cruel tyrannical government over us.  Our creditors demanded austerity. 

In retrospect, we should never have been drawn to this man.  He grew up in wealth, with every advantage and no constraints.  As one historian wrote later: “He had several famous teachers, but he was noted for his unruly behavior.”  He was handsome and charming, a womanizer all his life, even seducing the wife of a prominent king.    

He knew no loyalty.  One historian wrote of him, “He repays with injury the open assistance of any of his friends.”   He knew no patriotism.  There’s no doubt he met in secret with a key delegation to the Mutual Tolerance Treaty, convincing them that he alone could maintain peace.  Six years later, the Invasion, and our nation was lost.

He knew how to turn the public mind with fiery oratory.  He ranted that elected officials other than himself were bringing disorder and instability to the country.  The Invasion was necessary, and victory would be easy, he promised.  He promised, and yet, incredibly, he had very little knowledge of real enemy strength. 

The expedition (Operation Syracuse, it was called) had no strategic purpose.  None.  It started small — 40 ships and marines onboard — but it grew until almost our entire military was involved.  There was no real plan.  Our overwhelming force was successful at first, but our adversary was reinforced by her allies, and battles were lost on land and sea.  At the end, a desperate, massive evacuation was attempted, and it, too, was bungled.  All surviving men and ships were surrendered.

The Chosen went into exile, where he collaborated with an ancient enemy.  A contemporary essayist called him “”the least scrupulous and most entirely careless of human beings.”  But amazingly, when he was allowed to return, huge crowds greeted his arrival. 

But then nobody should have been amazed, so strong was his following.  How devious was the man!  One critic wrote of him: “All his natural gifts created a traitor, an audacious and impious man.”  A poet likened him to a lion raised in the city — admired for his magnificence and power but savage, unacceptable and dangerous when released.  An early critic wrote:  “Instead of holding that he ought himself to conform with the laws of the state, he expects you to conform with his own way of life.”


It’s not about Donald Trump.  We’re not in some fantasy future looking back on the demise of the United States. 

No, the Chosen man in our narrative here was Alcibiades, whose invasion of Sicily in 415 B.C. ended the Golden Age of Athens.  Yes, I cherry-picked the facts about Alcibiades to highlight the similarities between Trump and Alcibiades, but facts given here are Alcibiades’ facts (except he was not called The Chosen).  The quotes cited were actually written about him.

The Alcibiades saga has two lessons, two warnings, for America today. 

One: Greatness is fragile.  Nations can fall from their highest height to lowest low very quickly.  The magnificent Golden Age of Athens ended in one misstep.

Two: Power in the hands of an arrogant, unscrupulous, impulsive person can be more devastating than anyone can imagine.  

Donald Trump has all the qualifications to be America’s Alcibiades.

It must not happen.  For all that is great in America, we must not let it happen.

Mangled metaphors

News-Record & Sentinel, January 2020

TV pundits love metaphors.  They probably throw 100 people a day under the bus.  But sometimes their talking gets ahead of their thinking, and their metaphors get mixed. 

Like: “Nancy Pelosi has a lot of tools left in her quiver.”

No, son, she doesn’t.  She either has tools in her toolbox or she has arrows in her quiver.  It sounds dumb to mix them. 

Another big-time commentator said, “He didn’t raise the red flag as loudly as he should have.”  We understand what he means.  Red flags signal danger — but so does “sound the alarm,” which you want to do big and loud.  Keep them separate.     

Mixed metaphors are excusable.  They happen accidentally when the mind lags behind the tongue. 

Mangled metaphors, on the other hand, can’t be excused as easily.  We hear them when the speaker doesn’t understand the metaphor he’s using.  He’ showing his ignorance.

Some mangled metaphors are so common they only annoy us for a moment.  We hear, “He has a tough road to hoe,” and our minds see this poor goof chopping away at asphalt.  It’s properly “a tough row to hoe” – a garden metaphor, not a roadwork metaphor.

Sportscasters lament that a losing team needs to “get untracked.”  Untracked?  “Track” says it’s a railroad metaphor, for heaven’s sake.  If a train is untracked, it’s not going anywhere.  The metaphor they mangle is “get on track,” that is, get going in the right direction.

I cheered out loud when one of ESPN’s ex-jock commentators said, “They need to get on track, and they need a conductor,” meaning a quarterback.  He understood the metaphor and extended it!

“We really are in unchartered waters,” said Northwestern-educated Peter Alexander of NBC News.  Peter lad, waters aren’t givben charters; they have charts.  We’re in uncharted waters, not unchartered waters!

In this time of congressional hearings, we aren’t surprised to hear that “many more shoes will drop,” meaning simply, “There’s more to come.”  The metaphor pictures the person in the apartment above us dropping a shoe, one shoe, and we brace ourselves because the other shoe will certainly drop.  The metaphor doesn’t work if the guy upstairs is emptying his closet.

I’ll close now with a metaphor used by a sportscaster of my youth, Al Helfer, when the count was three balls and two strikes: “The string has run out.” 

Reading and Ruling

News-Recode & Sentinel, January 2020

“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” – Napoléon Bonaparte

Now that’s a surprise.  I’ve always thought of Bonaparte as a thug.  Looking deeper, I found an article, “Napoleon the reader,” and, Holy Waterloo!  As a young officer, he read the histories and constitutions of everywhere, philosophers, ancient Greek forts and a long list of et ceteras.

There’s a saying: “Leaders read.”  Library propaganda?

Well, our best-read presidents are on Mount Rushmore, plus FDR.  Harry Truman took Plutarch on vacation with him, and his diaries have references to Louis XI and Marcus Aurelius.   

Our current president doesn’t read.  An early adviser, Gary Cohn, is quoted as saying in an email: “Trump won’t read anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers, nothing.”

He doesn’t read, but even worse, he hasn’t read throughout his life.  He doesn’t have a basic foundation of knowledge.  

So what?  One thing his supporters love about him is that he doesn’t get muddled by Harvard types.  He goes by his instincts. 

But our instincts are guided by our life experience, aren’t they?  His supporters like that he was a businessman who made deals — but his deals were all for himself.  His instinct was a selfish instinct — and it still is.  Whenever he takes a position that involves Russia or Saudi Arabia, there’s this prick in our minds: “What’s he got to gain by that personally?”

Have his instincts been right in relations with North Korea?  No, they’re playing him.  Turkey?  No, they snookered him.  China?  We aren’t winning the trade war.  NATO and the European Union?  No, and his disrespect has made the world more dangerous.

We would hope, with a year left in his first term and four more years a possibility, that his instincts will improve.

We can hope, fervently hope.  Mushy instincts can lead to blunders anytime, anywhere.  And his loose tongue and tweets open him, up to ridicule, like when he said Andrew Jackson was angry about the Civil War, when Jackson was long dead before then.

Theodore Roosevelt liked to read a book before breakfast.  At that hour, Donald Trump is watching television.

Groucho Marx had this comment:  “I find television very educational.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

Faith-Politics hybrid

Asheville Daily Planet, January 2020

A letter to the editor of a competing newspaper made me pause and ponder:

“The decline of a nation starts within like a disease and spreads slowly.  Many have infiltrated our country bringing along their ideas and religious beliefs. Political correctness is deceptive and akin to socialism. My own Christian freedom is being challenged. Many, not all, that have come are the ones that is stomping on our soil to destroy the freedom we’ve held dear for centuries. Then there are the liberals, socialist, Nazis and the biased ideas of the media….If we, who believe in God’s holy word, don’t pray and stand up for the principals this nation was founded upon, the disease will destroy us. We cannot keep silent any longer.”

I felt like I was eavesdropping on a meeting of evangelicals, a meeting where people used words and phrases with specialized meanings that everybody in the group understood.

I have a long evangelical background, from my home to college to 20 years as a Bible translator, but that was before the evangelical faith got politicized. 

One painful sentence screams from the page: “My own Christian freedom is being challenged.”

On the surface, the statement is false.  Religious freedom is safe in America.  OK, Mormons are denied bigamy by law, and snake-handlers have to practice in secret.  Nothing comparable threatens evangelicals.

But when the Washington State Supreme Court ruled last summer, unanimously on civil rights grounds, that a florist was wrong to refuse service to a same-sex couple’s wedding, I understand that the writer feels it as a personal gut punch.

Likewise last September when the Duke University student government refused to recognize an evangelical student group because of their anti-LGBT stance, isn’t that — here comes that hot phrase — political correctness?

So the writer isn’t making stuff up. 

Oh, don’t we wish that were the end of the story — a committed Christian who rightly feels hurt by changes in American culture? 

But there’s more to consider.  Over the last 40 years, devious people have taken the legitimate distress of grassroot evangelicals and turned it into political passion.  Christian leaders, who previously worried about liberal trends in theology, discovered that politics can stir up conservatives a lot more efficiently than righteousness.

The letter illustrates for us an important tactic they use:   taking real words, dumping out the dictionary definitions and packing the words with new meanings.

When the letter writer says that political correctness is akin to socialism, we know “socialism” has been given a meaning something like “the worst thing that can happen to our government.”  Socialism is an economic system that many countries have adopted successfully.  It’s harmless to our faith.  (Maybe “socialism” still carries the strong negative connotation it had when anti-Communism was big among evangelicals.  That was before Trump, when Russia was considered an enemy.)

At this point, I want to introduce you to a new organization, an unabashed hybrid of faith and politics, created, as one commentator wrote, “just in time for the 2020 Presidential Election.”

Last month, a joint venture was announced between Jerry Falwell Jr. (president of Liberty University) and Charlie Kirk (head of Turning Point USA).  It’s called The Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty.  Falwell is a known evangelical leader; Kirk is a right-wing political operative whose organization has the subsidiary, Students for Trump.

Kirk loves the newly-defined, empty-vessel words, words that he can throw around like Molotov cocktails.  He’s quoted as believing that atheism leads to socialism, for example.  And in an interview with The Washington Examiner, he said: “The fastest-growing religion in America is atheism and secularism and with that is the rise of leftism and statism.” 

Statism?  Statism (unknown to my spell-checker) is “a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs.”

Hold it!  That definition sounds a whole lot like what these evangelical leaders want America to be — with control in their hands!

Courage & Self-preservation

News-Record & Sentinel, 12/2019

When we open the door to our deck, squirrels leap for the red oak.  It’s a basic instinct, isn’t it, self-preservation?  But occasionally a squirrel will perch on the railing, watching us, measuring our intent.  I’ve wondered if squirrels get special status for “bravery in the face of humans.”   

Courage comes in degrees, from zero to amazing.  The full spectrum is on display in our time.

The great acts of courage come to mind first:  the guy who tackled the terrorist on London Bridge, the bystander pulling somebody from a burning car.  The word “courage” comes from the French word for “heart,” and indeed people who do these great acts do so out of care for others.

But courage is most often from the mind.  We almost always have time to think, to consider alternatives.  

For example, people sign up to be marines, firefighters or electric line repairmen having considered that danger is built into the job. 

At the other extreme, one job doesn’t require courage at all:  politicians. 

Some are courageous, of course, but so many are ambitious people who spend their professional lives getting around problems, watching every word, being faithful to their party caucus.  Courage wouldn’t make the Top 10 prerequisites for their job.    

And right now, we watch cringing Republicans in Congress — men and women who know that President Trump is corrupt, constantly working in secret for his own benefit.  They know he’s a present danger to our democracy and to the stability of the world.    

They know.  But they will acquit him in the Senate.  And not one of those Republican senators will look back on his vote with pride.  Courage could overcome their fear if they chose it.     

In sharp contrast, there are the three county commissioners in Transylvania County who quit the Republican Party to become Unaffiliated.  One of them said this: “I also respectfully disagree with the paths that GOP leadership and their enablers have taken, and I don’t wish my name to be connected with them. One day my future grandchildren will read of these times in their history books, and I want them to know their grandfather opposed this and was not complicit through silence.”  (Google the whole story: “ three commissioners leave gop.”)  

Reelection as Unaffiliated isn’t easy, and they’ll be scorned.  May their courage be broadly contagious.

Parallel Patriotism

Asheville Daily Planet, December 2019

“Patriotism” has more than one definition in various dictionaries.  And so it is in America today.

When I think about my personal patriotism, I remember a powerful experience I had 50 years ago in the Philippines.

We had lived for years in the mountains of Luzon island and were taking a vacation on Lingayen Gulf.  We went to nearby Wallace Air Station for an American hamburger and a movie (“True Grit” with John Wayne).

The theater darkened – and immediately the American flag fluttered on the screen, with the “Star-Spangled Banner” playing.  We were far from America, but in that moment, I felt a huge rush of emotion.  It was MY FLAG!   The Philippine mountains were our home, but America is MY COUNTRY!  Old Glory stood for America’s long history of greatness – welcoming the world’s “tired and poor,” giving our young men to liberate others, helping our conquered enemies find democracy, making faraway disasters our own, and, yes, our enlightened colonialism in the Philippines!

I still feel that way.  I’m proud to be an American.   

But when I say that, I’m not talking about geographic America, where I was born and raised, where I live now.  Sure, I love her “purple mountain majesties,” but more deeply, I’m talking about what I felt 50 years ago in that theater.  America is an idea, a set of values that have lighted the world for over 200 years.   

It’s what people mean when they say, “America is the greatest country in the world.”  They aren’t talking about rocks and dirt.  They’re talking about immigrants who become successful entrepreneurs, defeated incumbents who leave office, the accountability of elected officials.

Almost everybody will agree with what I’ve written so far.  A Pew Research Center survey (2010) found that 83 percent of Americans are either extremely proud or very proud to be an American.  Only six percent say they have little or no national pride. 

But there’s a branch of American patriotism that runs parallel to mine that I don’t fully understand.  It’s an elite patriotism that’s more contentious, more showy, maybe even self-satisfied. 

I see an illustration of this elite patriotism at a website called  Here’s how it makes its appeal: “Flags are a great way to display your Conservative values. Whether it’s a car flag, yard sign or traditional flag, display your values with one of our patriotic flags!”

Indeed, a friend told me he has a flag on his house “to show we’re patriotic.”  Car flags appeared like a forest after we invaded Iraq.    

These folks are true patriots, in some sense “more patriotic” than I am.  I favor universal service, but it’s their sons and daughters who make up our armed forces today. 

That’s why I’m so confused by what I see happening in the Trump era.

Patriots of all stripes agree that our country should not be dishonored.  We’re angry at the burning of our flag.  And we agree that our country should keep its promises, like we do ourselves. 

And yet we hear not a squeak from patriotic conservatives when the president they support totally dishonors our military and, yes, our country.

We all remember when the president of Turkey called to say he intended to invade the safe territory of the Syrian Kurds, our allies against ISIS.  We had special forces positioned along that border as security for the Kurds.  Then without consulting our military, Trump had our troops turn tail and get to safety!  Russians filled the void, photographing themselves looking over our abandoned facilities.  Trump claimed that VP Pence had negotiated a cease-fire, but in fact, the Turks gave us a five-day truce for the Kurds and our troops to evacuate, to retreat.  It was classic ethnic cleansing, which Trump validated: “They (Turkey) had to have it cleaned out.”  Then he said, “On behalf of the United States, I want to thank Turkey.”

Donald Trump gave thanks to the man who had just humiliated us before the world. 

What can be so valuable to conservative patriots that they would support Trump even when he brings dishonor to our country?

Abortion & enabling

News-Record & Sentinel, April 2017

I know it’s never a good idea to second-guess God, but I can’t help wondering if there couldn’t have been a better plan for humans to have children – one that doesn’t involve sex.

Better to let sex be the wonderful, intimate act and let getting pregnant happen another way.  Then, people would have children when they want children.  Then, too, women wouldn’t need to have abortions.

Yes, I said need to have abortions. 

I believe that.  I am not casual in my view of abortion.  Abortions are terrible.  They do take life.  So many women are traumatized by the experience.  I don’t consider myself “pro-choice” because that word sounds too flippant. 

But a woman should not be forced to bring a life into a world where the child is not wanted, where he will suffer dysfunction and have no support and guidance for life.  It’s cruelty.

Thousands of people in North Carolina, hundreds in Madison County, strongly disagree with me.  They want abortion banned by law.  They really want it banned.  Abortion is the most important social and political issue there is. 

I’m fine with that.  I always try to have a spacious spirit that respects other people’s views that are different from mine.

But the abortion issue is different, very different.  It’s not like doing yardwork on the Lord’s Day (which I don’t do out of respect for my neighbors).  It’s not like capital punishment or nuclear power, where I disagree with liberals.

It’s different because people for whom abortion is most important vote for anti-abortion candidates, even if the candidate knosw little or nothing about the people’s needs – like our Michele Presnell.

Everybody reading this opinion page is well-informed.  They know that the GOP majorities in Raleigh run the General Assembly more like a crime syndicate than a real state legislature.  They know about the Berger-Moore Family’s “legislative coup” last December against the incoming Democratic governor.   And before that, they saw all the underworld-style stunts:  rushed-up special sessions, ambush agendas, late-night votes and parliamentary bullying. 

GOP leadership is obsessed with staying in power at all costs.  They don’t engage in the great legislative deeds that made North Carolina a bright light in the South for decades.  And the puppets like Presnell are the Family’s foot soldiers.  They vote like they’re told to vote.  They’re enablers.  

That’s where I am.  When I see a headline from Raleigh about another Republican outrage, I grind my teeth and think:  Michele Presnell helped with that!  And I wish crazy things like a redesign of human procreation.  

The enablers do nothing, collect their $14,000 and promise when they come home that they’ll vote against abortion – if the issue ever comes up – and they do strange things like making school boards partisan.  

I would really hope that many who vote strictly Republican on abortion grounds will open your windows to a candidate who will grow calluses working for us.  I think we all know that the days ahead will require some serious problem-solving.

Don’t whine, vote better

Citizen-Times, October 2012

Two remarkable guest columns appeared opposite one another on your Sunday (October 7) opinion pages.  And opposites they were.

One was Tom Swift’s magnificent piece that took us into his decision process about whether to live or die.  The other was by Roger Aiken, bemoaning how our political leaders aren’t rushing to solve problems and how political parties aren’t working together.  Well, they aren’t.  Everybody knows that.  Everybody hates it.  I’m reminded of the beauty pageant contestant whose wish is for world peace.  Me, too.  

Anybody reading the opinion page knows about Republican obstructionism since Barack Obama’s inauguration.  Then the Tea Party elected Republicans in 2010 committed to no-compromise.   

What’s ahead?  More and worse.  In the GOP Senate primary in Indiana, for example, the Tea Party beat a giant of U.S. foreign policy, Richard Lugar, because he worked with Democrats.  The Tea Party guy said afterward, in effect, that compromise is when Democrats agree with everything Republicans want.   

Aiken meant well, but I’m really tired of people saying “the government” gets nothing done ─ who then continue to elect no-compromise people to Congress.

Want to solve our problems?  Elect people who promise to solve problems.  Like Patsy Keever and Hayden Rogers.

Fascists never can or will compromise as I will prosecute in detail later but Joseph Goebbels wrote in his memoirs as he defined the nature of the revolutionary in 1945 as Germany faced defeat:

“[I]n common with all fascists, had always condemned half-measures as typically bourgeois and anti-revolutionary…now defined as ‘revolutionary’ those who would accept no compromise in scorched earth policy…”

So…why?  The cynical answer is that American politics has always been that way, with few periods of cooperation. 

1966 again in 2016?

March, 2016

What do you get when you cross a recurring nightmare and déjà vu?

Lester Trump?  Donald Maddox?

TV news features Triumphant Trump , GOP’s #NeverTrump, and smirks about Trump the Chump in November. 

Watching one night, I got a freaky feeling of familiarity.  I said out loud, “1966.  It’s 1966 all over again.”

I was in Georgia that year, when stars crossed and uncrossed in the race for governor.  It was something unique in our history – so far. 

Candidates in the 1966 Democratic primary were former governor Ellis Anall, segregationist Lester Maddox and an obscure state senator named Jimmy Carter.  Arnall was the strong favorite.

Maddox was famous for defying federal courts, turning away blacks from his Pickrick Restaurant.  One time, with customers and employees, he chased blacks away with ax handles.  Atlanta newspapers caricatured him as a buffoon.  In national media, he was “a backwoods demagogue out in the boondocks” (Newsweek).  

Republicans had a strong candidate in U.S. Representative Howard “Bo” Callaway.  They had no primary, so thousands of Republicans crossed over to the open Democratic primary and voted for Maddox, whom they saw as a pushover opponent for Callaway.

In the primary, Arnall got 30 percent; Maddox, 24 percent; Carter, 21 percent.  The Republican pick-our-opponent tactic gave Maddox the edge over Carter.  Nobody got the required 40 percent, so Arnall and Maddox met in a runoff.  Arnall was so confident he didn’t campaign ahead of the runoff.  And once again, Republicans crossed over to vote for Maddox.

Maddox didn’t need the GOP this time.  He crushed Arnall, 54 percent to 46 percent.  He was the Democratic nominee for governor.

In victory, Maddox said that President Johnson had been “the best campaign manager I’ve got,” referring to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

Moderate Democrats reacted to Arnall’s defeat by launching a write-in campaign for him in the general election.  It was a full-scale effort, equivalent to a third-party campaign. 

In the campaign that followed, Maddox trashed the federal government and ridiculed Republican U.S. Congressman Callaway as a modern-day General Sherman. 

In the general election, Callaway topped Maddox in the popular vote but lacked a majority, thanks to 52,000 write-ins for Arnall.  Under Georgia law, the state legislature decided between the top two candidates.  Arnall was excluded, and the legislature was almost entirely Democrat.  Maddox became governor.

Nobody took Lester Maddox seriously – except the voters. 

Were voters aware that Maddox could in fact do nothing about racial integration?  It didn’t matter, did it?  He was their strong man, their fighter, their hero.

As I talk to Trump supporters, there’s an echo of 1966.  He’s “The Man!” 

Hillary, oh Hillary, can you hear me?  Respect Donald Trump.  He’s no buffoon.  Remember 1966 in Georgia.   

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