Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

When the decisive moment came, what did you do?

"Conservative die-hards may try to hold fast to the excuse that Hillary Clinton was, is, and always will be 'worse,' but the argument can’t be sustained indefinitely. Mrs. Clinton is not the apotheosis of evil. She may be a corner-cutter and a liar, and she’ll almost surely appoint liberals to the Supreme Court. But at least she’s not a sociopath."

-- Conservative columnist Bret Stephens, in the Wall Street Journal

"Where do we draw the line? I thought it would have been when he alleged that U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero because he was caught. Or the countless other insults he's proudly lobbed from behind the Republican presidential podium. For me, it is not enough to simply denounce his comments: He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.... I can't look back in my life when I leave this job and know that I didn't speak the truth when it was important to do so."

-- U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, Republican of New York, explaining why he will vote for Hillary Clinton

"The straw that broke the camel's back did not break the camel's back.  It was the cumulative weight, the critical mass of straws, and the question is will there be a critical mass of these things.  Just when you think American politics has hit rock bottom Mr. Trump rises or stoops to the challenge of saying there is no rock bottom to American politics, and certainly attacking Gold Star parents is one of these things."

-- Conservative columnist George Will

"We are at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist -- a misogynist -- a bigot. This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president."

-- Sally Bradshaw, longtime GOP consultant and top aide to Jeb Bush, explaining her decision to leave the Republican Party and to vote for Hillary Clinton if her home state of Florida is in play.

"I've never felt as nauseated as I was when I saw his comments about Mrs. Khan.  Disgust doesn't begin to cover the range of emotions I felt and I think a lot of people will feel.  I think it stems from lack of empathy, a lack of respect, a lack of basic decency, and I wonder what this moral pygmy on top of the ticket is doing to the country and will do as president."

-- David Brooks, conservative columnist for the New York Times

"It's up to Donald Trump (whether to apologize to the Khans). You know, I love these families. Our party loves these families. And like I said before, they’re heroes, they’re cherished and, I mean, everything you can imagine. I mean, it’s just an unbelievable burden to carry and, you know, whatever sacrifices that I think I've made or whatever sacrifices you think you've made, I mean, there are crumbs on the floor compared to these families.”

-- Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee

"Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression."

-- Brian Duffy, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars

"I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: Thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.”

-- U.S. Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona

“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

-- Abraham Lincoln, first Republican president of the United States of America

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.