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Host: Scott LaMar

Civility in Political Discourse / McCausland v. Trump

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, Smart Talk | Oct 30, 2016 3:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, October 31st, 2016:

"The notion that there is greater comfort with personal attacks in the political process is terribly concerning."

That's Allegheny College President Jim Mullen upon receiving the results of a Zogby commissioned survey measuring the level of civility in contemporary political discourse.

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James Mullen, Jr. - President, Allegheny College

"It is now clear that voters not only view this year's campaign as the most uncivil in recent memory," he says. "But many are beginning to lower their standards for civility in politics."  

The report can be viewed as startling.  Of 1,286 polled adults, 63% called the 2016 presidential election as "extremely or very uncivil."  That's up from the 20% who regarded the 2012 election in the same way.

Jim Mullen will be a guest on Smart Talk on Monday to discuss the findings of these polls and why he fears they are "bad news for our democracy," as he sees it.

Also, Republican Donald Trump didn't like Jeffrey McCausland, the former dean of the Army War College in Carlisle, questioning  the presidential candidate's foreign policy acumen.

"You can tell your military expert that I'll sit down and I'll teach him a couple of things" Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in response to McCausland's assertion that the candidate doesn't understand military policy when it comes to reclaiming the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Jeffrey McCausland is a retired Army Colonel, a former Ranger with a West Point degree and a Ph.D. in law and diplomacy.  A veteran of the first Gulf War, he has served as an advisor to the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and an array of tactical and diplomatic positions that cements his bona fides as a military expert.

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Colonel Jeffrey McCausland, US Army (ret.)

We'll speak with McCausland about how this spat with Candidate Trump compares to some of the larger global conflicts with which he has engaged.  We'll also discuss modern foreign policy and how it may look following the election.


on political civility:

-  The incivility we're seeing in the highly visible presidential campaign is really a reflection of the incivility in society at large as seen in on-line conversation, particularly social media.  I have even  stopped reading comments to on-line NPR news because consistently they degenerate to incivility within 2 or 3 responses. Having said that, we should be able to expect something different from our nation's leadership.    - Eugene 

-  I've noticed a disturbing similarity between FaceBook behavior and road rage. Both provide a barrier shield to good and decent behavior.     - Steve

-  I think it is very unfair to present this discussion as having equal blame on both sides of the political spectrum. If you look at the last eight years and the onslaught of insults and lies that were hurled at President Obama such as he's as Muslim, he's not a citizen and worse, there is nothing comparable coming from the Democrats. Trump has made his whole campaign a personal attack on Hillary, merely a continuation of what the Republican party has attemped to do to her for decades. Go to a Trump rally and you will see tshirts calling her every imaginable obscene name. No such signs were seen at the Hillary rally I attended. Trump has gathered strength from bringing out the very worst in his followers. You also mention that people are tired of the gridlock. This situation has been a conscious Republican effort to halt government. Never before was a Supreme Court justice not replaced in a timely manner.                               - Loretta of Duncannon

-  An attorney once explained to me the reason why arrest records are no longer permanent: African Americans were so likely to be arrested without cause that it made more sense and was more fair to have only convictions on one's record, not arrests.  

This comment came to mind when I heard your caller mention the number of times Hillary Clinton has been investigated by the FBI.  She seemed to be saying that Clinton was thus just as guilty of moral failings as Trump (whose moral failings have been demonstrated by his own words, regardless of whether the accusations against him will ever be proven true or false).  Your caller should recognize that Clinton has not been found guilty of anything despite hundreds of hours of expensive investigation by both the House and the FBI.  In our political world today, investigations can be launched by officials and elected representatives who have ulterior motives.  Investigations in and of themselves do not constitute a reason for suspicion nor certainly evidence of guilt.  With all due respect, that should have been pointed out by Mr. LaMar.  It would not be a partisan response to her comment.  It would be a response in the service of the truth.                       - Rebecca, Carlisle

-  Thank you for bringing up the topic of negative politics. I would likely have voted republican if there was another candidate.  It is unbelievable how low Mr. Trump  has taken our selection of president. He smears his competitors in both parties.  I feel for the younger generations who are exposed to adults like Trump, people who we should look up to.

Hillary Clinton is also sharp but as far as I can see she only repeats what Trump has said. She does not make up untruths.  trump is actually misleading his own supporters.  I am not a democrat but I feel confident to vote for Hillary, it is clear that she has the knowledge to be president.         - Maria 


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