The Conversation, Continued . . . November 14, 2018July 20, 2019 This turns out to be a week — at least loosely — about reconciliation. Monday, I posted “The Conversation.” Yesterday, I responded to Carl. Today, Carl responds to me. But first, in case you missed it, here is Pete Davidson apologizing to former Navy SEAL and Republican Congressman-elect Lt. Dan Crenshaw on Saturday Night Live. Both are wonderful people I find myself liking immensely — who could hardly be more different. Yet who got along fine. Watch! The most important thing to come out of this election was the reimposition of urgently needed “checks and balances.” But also good was an amping up of diversity in Congress: . . . more women (still nowhere near half) . . . more scientists (maybe they will enact a National Scientists Day) . . . more Muslims . . . more Native Americans . . . more LGBT Americans — and more veterans like Lt. Crenshaw. (“Veterans in Congress key to bipartisanship, study says.“) Hats off to them all — and to any Republicans and Democrats willing to work across the aisle in good faith to find reasonable, fact-based solutions to our challenges. Like the 48 members of the Problem Solvers Caucus — 24 red, 24 blue. This in stark contrast with the mindset of the Republicans when they last regained control of the House and Boehner said of Obama’s agenda: “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.” And they did. But back to Carl, from yesterday. Carl responded: Believe it or not I actually like you and your devotion to the Democratic way of life, so to speak. But I believe that all the financial and hundred other achievements Trump has made FAR outweigh his negative past. Crime, safety and the greatest economy on the globe SHOULD be the Dem priority. NOT vindictive investigations that will tie up OUR country (yours and mine) for years. All the regulations that Obama put on the economy was stifling the potential of this great country and the JV team and Benghazi video and the “you can keep your doctor” garbage was too much to take. Stay in there and keep fighting let us pray you are right however you should temper your aggressive blog with the other side information that you knowingly omit. Try to take a middle road and avoid the far left BS (Hitler, sociopath, etc) Don’t forget the millions that voted for him that believe he truly loves this country. If you let me I will try to remind you when I can. I appreciate the tone, for sure. It might not have hurt to add, “I hadn’t realized the Florida referendum excludes murderers, or that 46 of the 50 states — now 47, with Florida — disagree with my position. I just like to rib you.” But I’ll take what I can get. And Carl should know a few other things, from my point of view. First, that the Trump achievements he points to are dubious. When you slash the corporate tax rate, you automatically raise corporate profits, which nearly as automatically raises stock prices. But at what cost? When you run trillion dollar deficits during good economic times, you juice the economy. But at what cost? When you slash environmental and safety regulations, again you raise corporate profits. But at what cost? We’re all for slashing unnecessary regulation and making government more efficient. (E.g., Clinton/Gore reinventing government, during whose eight years 24 million net new private sector jobs were added, versus fewer than 1 million after Bush’s eight years.) But even with Obama’s policies and priorities, he rescued the world from a global depression . . . (in hindsight, I wish he had sent some Wall Streeters to jail) . . . and reduced the unemployment rate from 10% to 4.7% even as he got the National Debt back to shrinking relative to the economy as a whole. Hurray to Trump for not (yet) killing the Obama recovery; but reducing the rate a further percentage point or so, from 4.7% to 3.7% merely continued the monthly job growth he inherited. There is so much more to say but let me stick here to some common ground: yes, Democrats are against crime. (The violent crime rate fell under Obama from 454 per 100,000 in 2008 to 372.) We’re with you, Carl! Democrats oppose illegal immigration. (Obama deported more people than any other president; we joined Republicans 68-32 with a comprehensive immigration reform package in 2013 that Republicans in the House killed; and a compromise earlier this year that Trump killed.) We’re with you, Carl! Democrats favor safety. (We favor gun safety regulation, workplace safety regulation, and other regulations designed to make the food and water we consume and the air we breathe safer.) We’re with you, Carl! Democrats favor a great economy. (Historically, the economy is stronger under Democrats — you can look it up. And if the Republicans had not blocked the American Jobs Act that Obama called a joint session of Congress to urgently advocate, we would by now have made a good start on reinvigorating our infrastructure and seen even better job and wage growth.) We’re with you, Carl! I agree we shouldn’t focus too much attention on what you call Trump’s “negative past.” It’s his campaign’s very recent past and his administration’s current corruption — on a scale never previously imagined — that I believe are worth scrutiny . . . even as we work with willing Republicans to lower the price of prescription drugs, improve the health care system, boost wages, and create great new jobs revitalizing our infrastructure. The things that affect everyday Americans are what Democrats would most like to accomplish. Democrats are with you on that as well. I agree there are “millions who voted for him who believe he truly loves this country.” But millions of people throughout history have believed nationalistic leaders they voted for loved their countries, only to decide, with hindsight and amidst the rubble, they were conned. Benghazi? Those four Americans knew they were serving in a dangerous part of the world and that 9/11 was a particularly dangerous day to visit Benghazi. Democrats celebrate their bravery and mourn their loss. But there is so much disturbing video these days (Parkland?) — yet none of the rest of it got eight Congressional hearings (none of which, though Republican-controlled, found any wrongdoing) — or even one. So I’m not with you on that piece, Carl. Finally, according to most psychiatrists, there are sociopaths in America. Perhaps as many as 3% of us. In what respects would you say Trump is not one of them? In what respects does the definition quoted yesterday . . . “The lack of conscience and an inability to feel remorse are the underlying factors [of sociopathy]. [Sociopaths] do not have the ability to make and keep friends. The sociopathic personality is initially viewed as charming until the casual deception shines through their skillful masterful manipulation. They have the skillful aptitude for lying and cheating. They have no capacity to feel guilt.” . . . not fit Trump? As this article warns, “Beware the narcissistic sociopath.” Are we wrong to be concerned? Brad Roth: “I have two points-of-view that I hold simultaneously, but I have not been able to reconcile them. 1) Democrats and Republicans need to stop fighting and work together for the good of the country. There is too much vitriol. We shouldn’t view each other as evil, but must find common ground. We are not enemies. 2) President Trump is the most vile, disgusting person ever, a true sociopath. I despise him. How can both of these statements be true? I believe both, but they seem inconsistent, which has me in a logical quandary.” ☞ Easy! Very few Republicans are sociopaths. Fewer still who have been elected to high office. And it is they — like Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw (or Marco Rubio back in the days he was calling Trump “a dangerous con man” or Lindsey Graham back in the days when he was calling Trump “a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot . . . undercutting everything we stand for”) — with whom we need to work.