Donald Trump’s attitude to holes and digging is just plain dumb

The US Presidential election has boiled down to this: If it is a referendum on Trump, Clinton wins. If it is a referendum on Clinton, Trump wins.

At the moment, it seems to be an extraordinarily florid referendum on Trump. This is a shame, as policy doesn’t seem to be getting a look in. But I suppose Americans are debating clearly the sort of person they want to see in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The main reason that the campaign has centred on Trump is, apart from the fact that he simply isn’t qualified to be President, because he is a repeat offender when it comes to the First Law of Holes, attributed to Will Rogers and latterly to Denis Healey:

…if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

I remember some training in Cowley Street in the distant past. It said: if someone accuses you of something, give a brief riposte, then move on and turn the conversation onto what you want to talk about.

Not our Donald.

He gets in a fleet of JCBs and excavates well down into the earth’s crust.

In the first debate with Hillary Clinton, the subject of a Miss Universe winner, twenty-odd years ago, came up. He could have easily ignored or brushed off the complaint and changed the subject. Instead he went into a prolonged, industrial-scale denunciation of the woman, covering about twenty news cycles. So, instead of getting twenty news cycles about policy or Hillary Clinton, he got twenty news cycles about his attitude to women.

Similarly, the appalling video conversation with Billy Bush comes out, and he launches into a tirade about Bill Clinton and ancient history. His non-apology then sparks further revelations which consume another twenty news cycles.

Paul Ryan, Republican leader in the House, says he is done defending Trump. Trump then launches repeated tirades against the man, dominating the news cycles with news of a Republican party civil war.

And all the while this is going on, policy doesn’t get discussed and Clinton rises in the polls.

The Clinton campaign have managed all this masterfully – such that books will be written about this campaign for years to come.

But Trump’s whole hole approach, apart from any other criticism, is just plain dumb.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Aleppo burns and this is the level of debate we get in the most powerful nation in the world.

  • When the history books have been rewritten Trump will probably be the GOP candidate `that didn’t win Utah`.

  • David Raw

    There’s definitely no arguing with that. Children are dying in their thousands, and these two don’t seem to care about anything but their personnel ambitions. I expected it from Trump, but I am very disappointed in Clinton.

  • Phil Boothroyd 14th Oct '16 - 5:18pm

    I think the polemic about Clinton is 3-fold,

    First there is the Whitewater stuff. Maybe they knew what was going on, maybe they didn’t – but as I understand it they were business partners, Hilary was providing some legal services, and Bill pardoned some of those that were convicted at the end of his presidency, and I think they benefited from what was going on. So there’s inevitably going to be some skepticism about them and their potential involvement in fraud. I think that this may have caused real problems for Bill as well, had it not been largely unknown when he was first elected president – and second time round he had the benefit of being an incumbent during a period of prosperity, plus the last minute pardons will have left people more suspicious than they were before his election and term!

    Secondly, having been involved in politics for a long time, they are viewed as about as much establishment figures as you can be – and being blunt that category isn’t that popular anywhere right now.

    Thirdly and finally, there is the lack of care taken with her e-mails. I kind of think this is blown out of proportion, but she really should have known better.

    Oh, and some people (I hope a minority) are just sexist.

    That said even if we build the worst possible caricature assuming the worst about her from all of the above, she still stands head and shoulders above Trump.

  • Children in the ME were dying in their tens of thousands before either Trump or Hilary Clinton ran for president….They will continue to die whoever wins…..

    We opened the ‘can of worms’ with Iraq and ‘threw away the lid’ with Libya…Sadly, Syria will be no different….
    Russia will not allow Assad to fail and the West will not allow Assad to succeed….Until that changes the children (and their parents) will continue to die…

    Yemen is yet another such humanitarian disaster unfolding….

  • paul barker 14th Oct '16 - 5:36pm

    @ malc. Clinton is not the problem here, she has put out shedloads of policy, in the debates she tried to talk about policy. Trump is the problem & the media that find him more exciting than the complexities of real life.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Oct '16 - 7:06pm

    On BBC1 Question Time he was described as a “sociopath”.
    Psychopathy (/saɪˈkɒpəθi/), sometimes also known as sociopathy (/soʊsiˈɒpəθi/), is traditionally defined as a personality disorder[1] characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, egotistical traits. Different conceptions of psychopathy have been used throughout history that are only partly overlapping and sometimes appear contradictory.[2]
    I am not a psychiatrist, nor a psychologist, so experts should comment.

  • I heard of a psychology lecturer using him as a classic case of sociopathy for his students

  • Guardian….”Nigel Farage backtracks on Donald Trump support amid groping claims”…

    “And the pig got up and slowly walked away”

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Oct '16 - 9:55am

    @ Expats,
    ‘One can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses’.

  • And yet Trump remains in the lead in Texas and not that far behind nationally. We clearly have different standards to many Americans. There is still a risk we may have to grant political asylum to the Clintons. On the plus side Trump could not command a majority in Congress so would be a lame duck.

  • If it’s a referendum on Clinton, Trump wins. Completely and utterly disagree. She is flawed, but in no way to the gates if Hell that the orange utahn is….clever description eh ? 🙂 McMullin is a Mormon and is getting lots of support in Utah that would normally be Republican.

  • Even now I get the feeling if she makes a mistake or has a bad 3rd debate she will lose. It’s like the american people are looking for a reason not to vote for her. You would think the voters would be excited and enthusiastic to have a woman president, but it’s as if they have forgotten she is a woman. The last poll I saw said that over 65% of women were indifferent or uneasy at having Clinton as president. How on earth as she got so unpopular?

  • Richard Underhill 15th Oct '16 - 11:51am

    Stevan Rose: “political asylum” does not exist, please say “asylum”.
    Canada is nearer, more accessible and nearer.

  • malc 15th Oct ’16 – 11:28am…

    Why should it matter if she’s a woman? The most divisive PM in my lifetime was a woman.
    As for why she is ‘unpopular’ try “The Clinton Foundation, “Deleted e-mails” (where her responses mirror her husband’s denial about Monica Lewinsky), etc….The fact that Trump even has any chance of being elected is down to Clinton being seen as devious and untrustworthy…

  • It’s astonishing how many people are blinkered to Hillary Clinton’s extremely dubious history. It’s as if because she is a woman, she gets a free pass by dint of her gender, automatically.?

    Well *shock horror*,.. it is possible for a woman to be a woman *and* be dangerous,.. and even just a little research, will inform you that Hillary Clinton, is a deeply dangerous woman. This deadly two horse race, is little more than a ‘battle of the sociopaths’, and no-one in their right mind actually ‘wants’ Trump as president. But the Clinton alternative, is a multiple of 10 times worse. Do you seriously think after hearing Clinton’s rhetoric, that she has the answer to solving the middle east mess.? If America is really keen to see how desert sand can be turned into a crater of green glass,.. then Hillary is the better choice.

    Frankly, the truly better option is that :
    Trump needs to be behind bars in a zoo,… and
    The Clintons need to be behind bars in a maximum security prison.

  • Stevan Rose 16th Oct '16 - 2:28am

    “please say “asylum”.”

    Political asylum is a well understood concept and apt for someone persecuted for their politics (as opposed to other reasons). So I’ll stick with my original words. But thanks for that contribution.

  • Martin 16th Oct ’16 – 9:13pm……………….. I confess that I do not know enough about the Whitewater affair, but surely if that had still been a problem, it would have been a major issue when she became Secretary of State………….It is hard to escape the suspicion that a lot of vituperation stems from the fact that she is a she and not a he…..

    I cannot believe that in the age of the internet someone can post “I do not know enough” but then make a judgement on the subject…

    As for the last sentence; what evidence do you have for that statement? If the USA could elect Obama (in view of the country’s recent racial history) why ever would one’s gender be a problem?

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