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Friday, October 21, 2016

Less than 24 hours after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie embarked on a long-shot campaign for the Republican presidential nomination under the banner of “Telling It Like It Is,” Vermont senator and aspiring Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders tweeted, “What this campaign is about is a very radical idea: We’re going to tell the truth.”

Not so radical, actually, in the 2016 race. Practically everybody’s “telling it like it is.” It’s a theme with endless subtextual variations, starting with “Telling It Like I Want It To Be.” “Telling It Like Primary Voters Think It Is.” “Telling It Like A Future Fox News Host.”

Christie’s main claims to this slogan are his blustery persona and call to curb entitlement programs. But that is hardly enough to stand out in a year like this. There are about 20 candidates and many have unfiltered personalities, nothing to lose, or both.

You want blustery? How about Donald Trump? His blithe characterization of Mexican immigrants as rapists, criminals, and drug runners — at his presidential announcement, no less — is the nadir of the telling-it-like-it-is syndrome to date. And it’s costing him what it should financially, as Univision, NBC, and now Macy’s have cut ties with him.

It’s not yet costing him politically; new polls show Trump in second place for the Republican nomination nationally, in Iowa and in New Hampshire. That’s bound to change, but not due to mass condemnation from the GOP. The party’s 2016 candidates for the most part have punted on Trump, perhaps anticipating, hopefully, that he will be ruined without their help. National Review did its part with a report that Trump has skipped the last six presidential primary elections, including 2012, when he urged Florida Republicans via Twitter to get out and vote in theirs.

Few can compete with Trump, but others are going for shock value in their own ways. Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee, for instance, played the daring, unconventional card by proposing a switch to the metric system — part of the internationalist direction in which he said he’d lead the country. Another Democrat, former Virginia senator Jim Webb, went in a unique direction after the Charleston church massacre. He said on Facebook that the Civil War had a “complicated” history and the Confederate battle flag had “wrongly been used” for racist purposes.

On the GOP side, John Kasich’s history suggests a strong showing in the tell-it-like-it-is sweepstakes when he announces July 21. Politico reported the Ohio governor would “aim to appear less scripted and guarded than the leading candidates.” In fact, he actually IS less scripted and guarded than most of them. To cite one example: Kasich didn’t just circumvent conservatives to jam through a Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, he suggested that they “better have a good answer” when St. Peter asks them what they did for the poor.

So far, Christie’s strongest rival for the tell-it-like-it-is crown is Mr. Establishment himself, Jeb Bush. He made a week-long mess of a question about Iraq, but the Florida governor has been straightforward — almost defiantly so — in other areas.

Not surprisingly, given Bush’s Mexican-American wife, he has been relatively tough on Trump. Asked in Spanish about Trump’s comments about Mexicans at an event in Las Vegas, Bush replied in Spanish that Trump spends his life fighting with people and doesn’t represent the values of the Republican Party, according to Bloomberg News. In English he said that “I don’t agree with him. I think he’s wrong.”

Bush also gets a straight-talk citation for calling the Confederate flag a “racist” symbol — while in South Carolina, no less. In a Winthrop University poll last year, 61 percent — including nearly three-quarters of whites — said the flag should continue to fly on the statehouse grounds. Views are changing, but there’s still risk given the state’s early and influential presidential primary. In 2012, exit polls showed that 98 percent of voters in the GOP primary were white.

On domestic policy, Bush has stuck with his support for Common Core education standards as many other GOP hopefuls have run from them, and he continues to back legal status for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country as part of a comprehensive immigration solution.

In a private phone call with Alabama Republicans that was reported by The Washington Post, Bush berated fellow Republicans for abandoning their views and said they should not “bend in the wind.” He says similar things in public. “I’m not backing down from something that is a core belief,” he told the Club for Growth in February. “Are we supposed to just cower because at the moment people are all upset about something? No way, no how.”

The old adage of show, don’t tell applies to the 2016 race in spades. Don’t tell us you’re going to tell it like it is. Just live it. And don’t be surprised to find stiff competition for the title.

Follow Jill Lawrence on Twitter @JillDLawrence. To find out more about Jill Lawrence and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Image: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

  • FireBaron

    For Trump’s candidacy, being in “second place” with poll numbers below 15% is nothing to brag about. Once people realize there is more P. T. Barnum to him than William Jennings Bryan, he will be as hot a commodity as a Pet Rock with a USB cable.

  • Unsurprisingly, the candidates screaming the loudest that they are going to “tell it like it is” are also the most notorious liars and frauds of the lot. Hell, Trump can’t even admit that Univision, NBC and Macy’s dumped him first.

  • DAK27

    All I can say is beware. When a Republican says they are going to “Tell it like it is” they mean they are going to lie to your face and tell you what you want to hear. Judge them by their actions, not their words and their actions all tell how much they hate everyone that isn’t wealthy, male, white and Christian (Their brand of Christian, not the actual Christians although it is hard to tell the difference between the 2 any more.) All others need not apply to their “big tent.”

  • Daniel Jones

    “Telling It Like It Is”, and they are jockeying for the pre-primaries, AKA Faux News. Yes, Fucks News, by only taking the top 10 candidates by their statndards, has effectively gained control of the Republican scrum!

    • plc97477

      They can have it. I doubt anyone else is interested.

  • Grannysmovin

    Just for starters: In 2009 Christie (tell it like it is) sent and open letter to Police and Firefighters regarding pension:

    “I have repeated time and time again that the pension agreement we made with our member our law enforcement community must be respected,” the 2009 letter adds. “It is a sacred trust.”Christie sent a similar “sacred trust” letter to firefighters through the state, adding: “The notion that I would eliminate, change, or alter your pension is not only a lie, but cannot be further from the truth.
    “No one will stand up for you more than I will.”
    “Do not believe the lies that have been spread about my proposals,”Christie told both groups. “Your pension will be protected when I am elected Governor.”

    Walker did not tell the voters while campaigning but away from the voters in secrecy (so they thought) he told it like it is in: Madison – A filmmaker released a video Thursday that shows Gov. Scott Walker saying he would use “divide and conquer” as a strategy against unions. Walker made the comments to Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who has since given $510,000 to the governor’s campaign – making her Walker’s single-largest donor and the largest known donor to a candidate in state history.”

    • Louis Allen

      Hey, Lenore Whitaker in disguise,
      You must be referring to Soros, Bill Gates, Jeffrey Inmelt, and Warren Buffet’s contributions to the DemocRAT Party.
      …. and to the Stephanopoulos secret contributions to the “Cling-ons” “Foundation”….

      • Looner

        Why do you keep talking in “name-callingese”? Are you 3 years old? It is really starting to get on my nerves and alienating me like all get out.

        • Louis Allen

          Looney Goner:
          “It is really starting to get on my nerves and alienating me like all get out.”
          For the life of me, I have NO IDEA what you are talking about.
          “… alienating me like all get out”?? WHATTT??
          Methinks you are way more than a “looner”; you are really looney.
          Try getting some help with your writing from the psychiatrists in your mental asylum.

  • johninPCFL

    “His blithe characterization of Mexican immigrants as rapists, criminals, and drug runners”.

    Trump took his cue from Steven King of Iowa: “for every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

    King had absolutely no repercussions. from it.

    • Fartrell Cluggins

      Thankfully, the rest of the country will… at least the ones with critical thinking skills.

  • Louis Allen

    The Dems are very worried. All they have is HiLIARy, who thinks “it’s her turn now”.
    …. and the OTHER socialist, Bernie.
    Wow, what a choice.

    • JPHALL

      Wow, you right wingers keep repeating the same lies over and over. By the way, there are now four Dems running. Keep up. I know you trolls have bosses to please, but try at least to keep up with the count. As to being worried, why? No real candidate is running against them! Just a clown car full of losers.

      • Louis Allen

        But of course I would not leave you behind!!
        I already answered 2 nincompoops, Polana and charleo1, and now it’s your turn, my friend.
        1) You will see (in due time) that most of the escapades and misdeeds being rumored about Hi-LIAR-y are the truth, including the fact that she lied, and covered-up, about Benghazi.
        2) You are, nevertheless, correct in your statement to the effect that there are now more candidates (FIVE, not 4 as you claim).
        3) Your corrupt party’s problem is that the gutless liberal media doesn’t cover Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb (an excellent candidate), Lincoln Chaffee, or (to a lesser degree) Bernie Sanders (even more of a socialist than Hi-LIAR-y), the current alternatives to Hi-LIAR-y, because they are mired in the perception that they can’t win.
        3) ANY ONE of whom you, so blindly following your handlers’ instructions, call a “clown car full of losers”, would make a much better president than 4 of your 5 candidates.

        • JPHALL

          Subject: Re: Comment on The Year Of Telling It Like It Is

          • Louis Allen

            1) As always, when you leftist/liberal/socialist/populist/”progressive” retards can not come up with appropriate arguments and answers to well thought-out points, you resort to “you are so deluded”.
            2) Thus, no brains and no “smarts” whatsoever, from you or from your liberal idiot friends.
            3) It is HERE, you complete nincompoop, that the “rest of the deluded left wing BS each other.
            4) Among the many retards on this cesspool of liberal/socialist “thought”, you are one of the worst (not quite the WORST, mind you, but getting “there”!). And, do you know why I say this? Because you CONSTANTLY make a fool (“make”??!, you ARE already a fool to begin with !!) of yourself by “thumbing-up” every stupidity that more-ons like Lenore Whitaker and Carolyn1520 “write” !!
            You, JPHALL, are PATHETIC.
            Now go back to your Momma’s basement and GET A LIFE, you Kretin.

          • JPHALL

            And all you right wing retards can do is lie! Prove your point for once instead of creating more lies. So leave this site and good riddance to a egotistical liar. Subject: Re: Comment on The Year Of Telling It Like It Is

    • charleo1

      Every politician is a Socialist for somebody nowadays. I’d rather have a Burnie Sanders type Socialist for the people. Than a Right Wing Socialist for the big banks, big oil, and the rest of the corporate crowd. Who, by the way, have their snouts stuck in the public trough up to their ears.

      • Louis Allen

        You, my friend, are living in a kind of “Alice in Wonderland” world.
        The “big banks” and their major executives, “big oil” and some of their major executives, and “the rest of the corporate crowd” are, and have been for quite a few years now, in the fist, in the corner, and in the “politically correct” team of the DemocRAT Party.
        For every conservative executive or corporation that you can point out to me, I’ll give you FOUR leftist/liberal/socialistic/”progressive” major executives to you, including the CEOs of the “mainscream” press: ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN.
        (I intentionally left out MSNBC because it has become a death-throes basket case, with its blatant disregard for the truth).
        P.S. – Learn some proper sentence construction in English.

        • charleo1

          Don’t be a fool Louis. If you took the time to check you’d learn Burnie Sanders has been unashamedly saying the same things he’s saying now, that are resonating in unprecedented numbers for more than 40 years. How many still allowed in the GOP. today, could say the same? No Sir, Louis. The reality based World I live in, has the, “DemocRATs,” as you Righties like to disparage them, as in the clear majority. And pulling away in terms of popular support, from an increasingly dysfunctional, disgraced, and divided GOP. Increasingly viewed as a non-serious, and radical in thought, political organization. That is hardly recognizable when compared with it’s former self of only 20 years ago. As a Political organization, the one, perhaps only remaining constant of the Conservative Right, is their slavish devotion to being the faithful servants of the wealthy. The investor, and the owner class. The Corporatists, and the fringe ideologies. To exhibit a welcoming stance to the one issue Ideologues with enough cash to fund their access to public office, and money corrupted power. Anti Unionists, anti-regulation, anti-tax for the common good, fanatics. They’ve shown themselves time and again willing to push the bounds of common sense. And for their extremist minority, to go far beyond any semblance of fiscal, democratic, or societal responsibilities, in order to cynically curry favor with the lowest common denominators, of race, religion, gender, and financial status. While taking every opportunity, to further empower the already powerful, at the expense and to the detriment of the the Country itself. And the records when unbiasedly inspected, shows this to be absolutely true.
          So please, do not expect me to readily agree with your propagandized, and brainwashed, Winger perceptions, of an organization that would, in all likelihood, consider you as less than. And as history has shown, would have no problem treating you accordingly. So, I urge you to wake up. and join the growing millions who’ve learned the truth about the so called, “Conservative Right.” That in fact, they are no longer either Conservatives, or right. But hucksters, and cons, in every sense of the word.

          • Louis Allen

            charleo, YOU stop being a fool.
            Let me repeat from my post which you, obviously, did not read.
            “The “big banks” and their major executives, “big oil” and some of their
            major executives, and “the rest of the corporate crowd” are, and have
            been for quite a few years now, in the fist, in the corner, and in the
            “politically correct” team of the DemocRAT Party.
            For every
            conservative executive or corporation that you can point out to me, I’ll
            give you FOUR leftist/liberal/socialistic/”progressive” major
            executives to you, including the CEOs of the “mainscream” press: ABC,
            CBS, NBC, and CNN.”
            THE FAT CATS, Charleo, are in the DemocRAT party !!!
            LOL !!!

          • charleo1

            I read it Allen. You can ‘LOL” and name call, all you want to, I’m just not buying. Have a great time at the beach. You can thank a labor union for the paid day off.

          • Louis Allen

            Ha! You must be a paid union hack!
            1) 4th of July has always been a “paid day off”.
            2) I am an entrepreneur and self-employed. As such, I have no need for anything that a union could ever “give” me.
            P.S. when was the last time you heard a union thug utter the phrase “productivity increase” ??
            Answer that one.

          • charleo1

            How about, everyone benefits from the labor union? Even the self employed business owner. How about, there were no paid days off, holidays off, weekends off, no overtime pay, sick leave, worker’s comp, health benefits, or workplace safety regulations, before these labor union, “thugs,” as you call them, collectively went in and fought for them. The productivity of the American worker has increased 250% since 1970. Overall pay on the other hand, has increased after inflation, by a negative factor of ,01%. And, when was the last time management didn’t holler for a productivity increase” Or was willing to pay more for it when they got it? Since labor union participation in the private sector fell from a high of 37% in 1956, to it’s present 7%. When American labor lost a lot of it’s say in wages, hours, working conditions, and benefits, is when. If I were you, I’d stick with name calling. Because you aren’t going to win this argument on the facts.

          • Louis Allen

            So, after all your stating of the “facts”, you still can not come up with the answer to my question: When was the last time you heard a union thug utter the phrase “productivity increase” ??

          • charleo1

            It’s a stupid question, Louis. I imagine they said, our workers have increased their productivity, and your profits. So how about compensating them for it. But, it goes to your earlier assertion that the anti-union GOP is not the Party of the fat cat. Of course they’re against salaried workers, organizing, and getting the power to demand fair wages. Tell me you don’t know this. Of course you do.

          • Louis Allen

            It’s NOT a stupid question, charly.
            It’s a question you, knowing the answer, do not care to answer.
            P.S. – Answer: 40 years ago.
            P.S.2. – Could that fact have anything, anything at all, to do with the fact that union membership has been steadily decreasing for the last 40 years?

          • charleo1

            You’re making my point. The fact that 50 years ago a third of the private sector workforce benefited from the wage support of a labor union, positively benefited the remaining 2/3. Effectively circulating a greater portion of the profits down the income scale. Which in turn led to a stronger overall demand for goods, and services. Creating growth, better paying jobs, numerous opportunities for new businesses, more taxpayers sharing the collective debt. We paid our bills, invested in the future. There was less need for gov. intervention to combat poverty, and a stable, more diverse economy all around. The only problem was, the GOP. Their heads completely up the rear ends of greedy bottom liners, the profiteers, the gamblers, shysters, and the elitist Plutocrats, who want it all. Set about to upend all that. And to the extent they’ve succeeded in doing so. In passing anti-union legislation, suppression wages, deregulating the Country’s banks, and financial sector, running up deficits, handing the Country’s bills to the working class, while refusing to enact a fair taxation regimen, based on who’s receiving the loins share of the profits, accounts for much of the Country’s economic ills today. So, no Sir. You call me what you like. I’ve run businesses, met payrolls, and done very well for myself. And, I also know what economic philosophy works for everyone, and works best for the Nation. And which philosophy has failed very spectacularly-twice. And also which political party is getting my vote.

    • Polana

      Which one of the scumbags is your choice troll?. Can’t pick one?
      If U don’t like socialism – please give up your SS and your welfare check.
      They are socialistic programs you and your kind enjoy it very much.
      Get a life, some brains and common sense.

      • Louis Allen

        Come on, Polana!
        1) Funny how, with HiLIARy running, you call the GOP’s candidates “scumbags”. If you want to see a real scumbag look in your bathroom cabinet (yeah, exactly, where you keep your illegal drugs) MIRROR.
        2) I DO NOT like, espouse or defend socialism in any of its insidious and camouflaged ways. Seems that you don’t possess the intellectual wherewithal to do as I do.
        3) I do not yet qualify for SS (because of my age) nor for welfare checks (because I run a small engineering office and I am not “overhead”). Seems that you DO receive (earned or not) welfare.
        4) That all translates into the fact that it is you, Polana, who should really “get a life, some brains (you are completely devoid of grey matter) and common sense.”

      • dpaano

        Not going to happen with Louis…he’s got none of those!

  • dpaano

    I’m glad to see that Macy’s dumped Trump…..after all, his clothing line is manufactured in China….I wonder how he explains that one! He doesn’t want immigrants here to do menial work, but he has NO problem sending it overseas to China. If he wants to stop immigration from Mexico, why doesn’t he use all his big bucks and build a factory or two in Mexico and give people there decent jobs so they don’t have to come here to find work? Probably would cost less than a damned fence that won’t do any good!