Jeb Bladine: A ‘disorderly mind’ ponders Civil War

Every day, it seems, we confront the mental gymnastics of President Donald Trump.

George F. Will provided presidential perspective this week in his column entitled, “We have a president who does not know what it is to know.” Wrote Will: “His fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present and his limitless gullibility leave him susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind.”

Consider Trump’s much-quoted explanation this week about how the Civil War could have been avoided:

“I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’ People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Never mind that Andrew Jackson died 16 years before the Civil War began; focus, instead, on the incredible shallowness of our current president’s grammar and historic analysis, and agonize a bit about how he applies that kind of superficial thinking to current national and world affairs.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Dear Donald: The Civil War was fought over slavery. It would not have been avoided by slave-owner Andrew Jackson; it would not have been “worked out” by your alleged deal-making skills.

Historically, Oregonians have only a rudimentary grasp of slavery because, more than a decade before statehood, our provisional government banned slavery in Oregon. However, at the same time, early Oregonians required all African Americans to leave the territory; publicly flogged those who remained; and enshrined in the state constitution a ban on black people entering, holding property or residing in our fair state.

For more enlightenment on related Oregon history, look up a July 2016 article in The Atlantic by Alana Semuels. The article focuses in-depth on the evolution of its title, “The Racist History of Portland, the Whitest City in America.”

A recent personal experience put a powerful exclamation mark on my own understanding of various dynamics leading up to the Civil War. That’s a topic for another column, but meanwhile, we can only hope that some kind of miracle protects us from the “disorderly mind” of our 45th president.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.



President Trump's appalling crusade against actual knowledge has had one salutary effect: As the column by George F. Will, quoted by Mr. Bladine above, shows, some conservative commentators (Charles Krauthammer is another example) have been jarred into realizing that real conservatism and anti-intellectual shallowness are not friends. Trump is the culmination of bloviating gasbags from Limbaugh to Savage, Hannity, and Jones, frequently at war with reality, and a world away from the time when real conservatives from Ike to Reagan were the adults in the room.

Don Dix

Rumpelstilzchen -- just wondering -- when comparing 'sides of the isle', are there any 'liberal names' that fit similarly into the spaces filled by your 'conservative shaming'? Kennedy, Pelosi, Carter, Maddow, Reed, and of course the Clintons come to mind. One side of the 'swamp' is not the only area with the stagnant stench.


John Kasich would have been much more reasonable and prepared for the position.....

Bill B

Seems like the News Register is leaning way to the left lately, doesn't it?


So anyone that points out the obvious issues with Mr. Trump is leaning left?....C'mon...can we not admit the truth anymore?

Don Dix

tagup -- you are correct -- and by observation, the Ds have shown they are not the 'tolerant, conscientious, love everybody party' they want you to believe. Funny how that occurs with those that no longer control government's direction, wouldn't you say?


Not sure what your generalization has to do with the issues of Mr. Trump....Surely you don't believe that democrats are the only people that recognize the honesty, and intellectual challenges of the current administration......

Can you really state that you are happy with Trump's leadership in the first 108 days? and if you say no...does that make you "left leaning"?


tagup, surely you realize that the first 108 days of any administration are judged by a person's political/ideological perspective. Given what I now know, would I have voted for Hillary Clinton? Not a chance and furthermore I have not heard anyone else (although there must be some) who would have changed their vote. And, I don't like Donald Trump nor have I for the last 20 years that I have followed his career.


Who you would have voted for is irrelevant.....Trump is who we are stuck with and his actions and blatant conflicts are obvious.....Pointing out those issues is the job of the media, it's not really a left or right issue....both parties should take exception to how this administration is operating.....if you haven't heard about anyone having "voter's remorse", then your not listening very closely.


tagup, obviously you would have rather been "stuck with Clinton and her actions and blatant conflicts", sobeit. You have a different perspective and your side lost the election. Perhaps it will change in four years.

The " the honesty, and intellectual challenges" of a Clinton administration could have been equally challenging. Thankfully, we will never know but again, it depends on your perspective. There were many Democrats who saw her as a very corrupt and faulted candidate.


It appears that both you and Mr. Trump can't seem to put the election in the rear view mirror......there is no "perspective" on the truth, his nepotism and business conflicts are not a matter of opinion they are facts....I find it interesting that Trump has many of the very same issues that you attribute to Clinton, yet you give him a pass justified by saying Clinton was worse?....at any rate (as I said previously) we are stuck with the current situation...should we just accuse the other side of playing politics and ignore the reality? maybe jump on the "fake news" bandwagon?
Perhaps it will change, but only if the media and concerned citizens make their opinions heard....and if they do,(or if the Russia investigation turns up some dirt) it may not take 4 years to happen...


Good luck.


King Donald to journalist Dickerson last week:


Even as the so-called President inflicts total chaos, insults and alienates our allies, praises and endorses dictators and mass murderers, some in the base remain supportive. It is demoralizing to read a post here that suggests the mere observation of such disturbing factual information indicates “…..leaning way to the left…..” This is not, must not be, a left/right issue. It is an AMERICAN issue.

Not long ago, puppet-master Bannon proudly and confidently declared that the “deconstruction” of America is underway. Patriotic citizens continue to resist the corruption of our values and the demise of our democracy. This definitely requires a lot more than luck. Obstruction of justice is a (high) crime - our only hope now, while we still have a Constitution, is impeachment. Tick-tock.


I would agree. I would Like a President Pence instead of a President Trump. That administration would likely last for eight years.


Plus, this country is now a laughing stock for the entire world. Can't he pretend to show some class?


Lulu.... even given our current state of disarray, the United States is the envy of most people in the world. Being a "laughing stock" is just not true.


Given the news of the day (actually the news of every day since January 20th) I imagine the world that used to admire and depend on us is quaking in their boots – with the exception of Russia, of course. They don’t even need spies anymore, they just get Vladmir to order up a private White House visit, stroke the narcissist’s sick ego, and get their classified Intel straight from the King’s loose lips. If you are hearing laughter, it is no doubt coming from the Kremlin.

What treason and chaos is on the menu for tomorrow? It is WAY past time for our representatives to locate their spines and take appropriate action to save America from this clear and present danger. Our Founders gave us the remedy for just such a dire circumstance. The Constitution is under siege but I am trying to have faith that it can still save us.

David Brooks addresses “…….the Dunning-Kruger effect, the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence.” His column is a good and sobering read:


I repeat my opinion that national security is an AMERICAN issue.

Don Dix

tagup wrote -- 'Can you really state that you are happy with Trump's leadership in the first 108 days? and if you say no...does that make you "left leaning"?'

Sorry for the delay ..... I haven't been pleased by any president's first 100 days since I can remember (even the 2nd termers, -- that's when they get the big head)). I do feel the country is more secure than it would be under the alternative.

Bill B

The NY Times is about as biased as mainstream news can be!

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