08.03.2016 07:50 AM

The 2016 Daisy moment has arrived (updated)

From MSNBC this morning:

 Donald Trump asked a foreign policy expert advising him why the U.S. can’t use nuclear weapons, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said on the air Wednesday, citing an unnamed source who claimed he had spoken with the GOP presidential nominee.

“Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can’t we use them,” Scarborough said on his “Morning Joe” program.

If this is accurate – and given Trump’s past policy pronouncements, it almost certainly is – a critical point has been reached, 52 years later (almost to the day). I wrote about it in my book The War Room.

The background to “Daisy,” Tony Schwartz explained to me many years later, was simple: conservatives of Goldwater’s ilk scared people. Even before he won the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in a nasty fight at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in July 1964, the hard-line conservative had alienated many Americans with words and deeds that were inarguably extreme. 

In fact, near the end of his acceptance speech, Goldwater resolved any doubt about that, when he hollered: “I would remind you that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

Goldwater wanted to use the bomb, too, just as Trump now apparently seeks to do. So Schwartz and the Democrats came up with the ad that changed everything – an ad so powerful I later named my company after it. 

Here it is. Time for a rerun, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. EB says:

    The most alarming thing about this report is the response to the hypothetical question about using said nukes…

    It’s scenario dependent, but the system is designed for speed and decisiveness. It’s not designed to debate the decision,” Hayden said.

    I don’t think we should underestimate the potential danger that Trump truly is…

  2. Riaz Khan says:

    Mr. Trump will not win. #HRC will win in November. I have been saying this since Jan, 2016. However, the world she will inherit is quite unstable with Mid-East burning, Iran nuclear deal ( which by the way has not solved the issue of Persian bomb); collapse of authority in North Africa, Iraq & Afghanistan in chaos, anxiety in Europe, China’s flexing its muscle in Asia and Putin’s Russia. These issue are nothing compared to all things Trump. He will be a distant memory; yet the issues I have outlined above will not.
    Wishing you and your loved ones a lovely Canadian summer Mr. Kinsella…

    • Matt says:

      Well, everyone said there was no way Trump would be the Republican nominee, yet here we are.

      I don’t trust him or Clinton with the nuclear codes.

  3. Ron says:

    Yes I think you have it right.


    What ? Did Drumpf see the baby as a protester ? Against what, noise ?

  4. james elder says:

    How is killing a lot of people quickly with a big bomb any different than killing a lot of people slowly with shock and awe. a real war criminal is alive and well and living the good life in Dallas but I guess it’s safer taking down the almost president as opposed to a real one.

  5. mrburnsns says:

    This Simpsons 3 a.m. promo might just be the Daisy ad for 2016:


  6. Richard says:

    A broken political party structure.

  7. Richard says:

    It’s incredible that a normative prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons is actually threatened. Clinton has been saying for some time now that the temperament of this man is not conducive to him having his finger on the button. As it turns out, he’s actually itching to do it.

  8. !o! says:

    It’s too bad there’s no video of him actually asking this. I can imagine him getting baited into saying they should be deployed though.

  9. jen says:

    Its clear that most of us visiting this blog feel disapproval towards Trump.

    But President Trump is the most likely scenario.

    If we read the real tea leaves rather than grasping at messages of hope we see an unflattering picture. Income levels have not been rising with the cost of living for most Americans over the past decade. The Democratic Party is no longer supported by the working poor and the middle class like it was during Roosevelt, Kennedy and Carter – Hillary has pathetic traction with these voters. The United States military is over extended everywhere and the democrats have not sufficiently differentiated themselves from the Bush era on foreign policy. The American voter is grouchy and fed up with the elites. Trump is filling arenas out and Hillary isn’t.

    People who say Trump wont win are the same ones who predicted Reagan could never win. I wont be surprised at the end of this if Trump sweeps the election in a landslide.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Apples and oranges. Reagan was a responsible state executive with a resolutely positive vision of and for America. Trump…

  10. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    For anyone to seriously suggest that Hillary would not be a responsible steward of nuclear codes is beyond a vivid imagination. That view is laughable, to say the least.

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