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A few recent developments in the presidential race and comments thereon:

Joe Rogan, a comedian, podcast host, martial arts commentator and libertarian-leaner with a fondness for the erratic politics of Ron Paul and Tulsi Gabbard, has offered to host a four-hour, no-interruption, live-streamed presidential debate.

Rogan calls himself non-ideological and nonpartisan in the presidential race. He seems to be non-ideological and nonpartisan in a Joe Biden-ridiculing way.

He said in November that making Biden president would be like embarking on a long hike in the woods with a flashlight on a dying battery.

Do you think this might be a politically purposed stunt executed in cahoots with Donald Trump, whose whole existence is shallow celebrity, attention addiction, rhetorical cage-fighting and publicity gimmick?

Trump, who instantly tweeted his acceptance of the offer, no doubt sees an opportunity to call Biden a fraidy-cat who's too demented to talk intelligently for four hours.

So Biden should say yes as long as the event is expanded to 24 hours and engaged remotely because he doesn't want to be around an unmasked virus risk like Trump for that long.

That way, Joe's aides could pass him notes.

Meantime, the beautiful American Northwest is ablaze and Biden responds by calling Trump a "climate arsonist" who defies science irresponsibly.

Trump responds that science doesn't really know why these fires typical of California have worsened by frequency and size and moved to Oregon.

I wince at "arsonist," even for Trump, except in the nice metaphorical context that his governing style is to start fires and then claim credit for spraying water on them.

"Climate arsonist" is a piercing phrase better suited for incendiary column-writing, which is why it may begin to appear frequently here, sharing duty with the popular and profound "preposterous second-place and Russian-endorsed president."

The proper Biden response to this climate arsonist of a preposterous president is to hit him deservedly hard but to remain better than his name-calling and overstatement.

Obviously, the evidence rages before us that the climate is changing as science says. But I'd prefer that Biden not blame the fires on Trump singularly, but blame him instead for a typically irresponsible, leaderless and wrong-headed response.

It's like the virus. Trump didn't cause it. He just blew it.

It would not be fair to call the globally pace-setting American spread of the virus the orange strain, although, now that I behold the phrase, I may need to use it again.

Trump says science doesn't understand why these fires are happening. That's euphemistic for his neither understanding nor wanting to understand climate change.

That's because of his base, which is not altogether primitive and nuts.

The more sensitive and appropriate word for deplorables is regrettables.

Speaking of regrettable, a reader sends a long email saying I just don't get it. He says he disapproves of Trump's behavior, but that he favors the president's re-election because of something the Manhattan-San Francisco liberal elites don't value, which is that Trump plainly loves America in the old-fashioned way.

I defy anyone to listen to Bob Woodward's recorded conversations with Trump and arrive at any conclusion other than that Trump loves only himself.

He seeks to ingratiate himself with Woodward by regaling (he wrongly thinks) the journalist with dramatic warnings about the frightful virus that he is contemporaneously downplaying to the American people.

The warnings are conceivably exaggerated for Trump's immediate purpose, just as the public downplaying is presumably understated for Trump's different immediate purpose--because everything with Trump is about Trump's immediate purpose.

The point is that you can't believe him in either context, or any context.

As former national intelligence director Dan Coats, a former congressman of solid conservatism, is quoted elsewhere in the Woodward book, speaking of Trump: "To him, a lie is not a lie. It's just what he thinks. He doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie."

So, when Trump tells Woodward that a visitor sneezed in the Oval Office in April and he ran for cover, I don't believe it happened. And when Trump told the people that the virus was a brief, minor, fully controlled inconvenience ... you know, that might not have been true either.

It's like that "Access Hollywood" tape that surfaced in 2016. The mainstream outrage was that Trump revealed that as a celebrity he grabbed women in their personal region and got away with it.

But I never believed he ever actually hauled off out of the blue and pawed any woman in that way. I think only that he was trying to gratify his ego by impressing his immediate audience.

Yes, I defend Trump on those particulars. I do not believe he is the grabber of female private parts he describes. I believe only that he's incurably full of it.

So, does that make him deplorable or regrettable?

It sure does.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.


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