Category Archives: political news

Wanting a presidential candidate with policy chops

I just watched a snippet of Michael Avenatti delivering a sort of campaign stump speech to some listeners in Iowa.

The high-profile lawyer is considering a run for the presidency. His only claim to fame/notoriety to date has been that he represents Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she and the future president, Donald Trump, had a fling in a hotel room back in 2006 — and that the president paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about it.

Avenatti is her mouthpiece. He also is a blowhard, a celebrity who’s trying to parlay his celebrity status into something that requires a lot more of those who seek high public office.

Does that remind you of anyone else? Of course it does!

I’m a bit old-fashioned. I want presidents to have some public service experience. I want them to demonstrate a commitment to the public. I want them to be well-versed, well-spoken and well-educated on policy and on the nuance of government. I do not want some showboat to prance onto the political stage and bellow, “Vote for me because I am not a politician!”

The 2020 election will feature, more than likely, a large field of Democratic candidates, the size of which of might rival the number of 2016 Republican candidates who sought to succeed Barack Obama as president.

Given the electoral success that Donald Trump experienced in 2016, I am pretty certain that the opening-day field of Democratic contenders will include its fair share of carnival barkers, goofballs and unqualified showboats.

That is how I consider Michael Avenatti, who well might be a great lawyer, but who is about as qualified to serve as president as the guy who’s in the office now. Which is to say he is patently unqualified.

My hope is that Democrats can produce a newcomer, someone who isn’t much of a presence at this moment on the political horizon.

That all said, I hope Avenatti sticks to lawyering and clears the field for candidates who actually know what they would do were they to get elected president.

Welcome to our ranks, Mr. and Mrs. Knavs

The United States gained at least two new citizens this week.

They are Viktor and Amalija Knavs, natives of Slovenia in central Europe. Oh, yes. They are the parents of first lady Melania Trump.

I welcome them. They likely are fine folks. They will add to the rich texture of this nation of immigrants.

However, there’s this little catch: They became U.S. citizens under the same sort of system that their son-in-law, the president of the United States, continues to rail against.

He calls it “chain migration,” which allows people to enter this country with relatives in tow. You might have heard Donald Trump bellow how chain migration enables immigrants to bring their cousins, in-laws, all sorts of kinfolk. He wants to end it. Trump wants to limit immigration — even those who come here legally — to those who would qualify on “merit.”

I won’t condemn the Knavses for coming here. I welcome them. I know they’ll have a good life as Americans. They’ll be able to be a larger part of their grandson Barron’s life as he continues to come of age in that strange environment within the White House.

However, they might need to toughen their skin as they hear critics who ask aloud why they were able to come here under a policy that conservatives — led by the president — want to discontinue.

Oh, wait …

If POTUS campaigns for Cruz, here’s a thought

The more I think about it the less likely it appears that Donald John Trump will accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s invitation to campaign for Cruz’s re-election bid.

I have this feeling in my gut that the men detest each other.

Trump called Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” during the 2016 GOP presidential campaign. Cruz called Trump an “amoral narcissist” and a “pathological liar.” Trump linked Cruz’s father with the JFK murder in Dallas in 1963. Cruz called Trump out for denigrating his family, including his wife, Heidi.

How can they share a stage together? My view? They can’t.

But if Trump proves me wrong — and that’s always entirely possible, if not likely — he ought to come to Collin County. This is strong Republican county just north of Dallas County. It’s tailor-made for someone of the Cruz Missile’s ilk. I haven’t lived here long enough to get a full reading of the lay of the land, but my hunch is that Trump has a reservoir of popularity here.

What’s more, we have a nice venue just around the corner from where my wife and I live. It’s the Allen Event Center. It seats a lot of folks. It’s a modern facility. It’s within walking distance of our residence.

I so want to attend a Trump political rally. You know, of course, it’s not because I want to cheer his every idiotic utterance. It’s not because I want Ted Cruz to win re-election. No, I plan to support Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

My intent is to attend this rally with notebook and pen in hand. I crave additional grist for High Plains Blogger.

Sadly, I fear that it won’t happen.

Maybe I can persuade the president to come this way.

‘President Avenatti?’ For real?

Say it ain’t so, counselor.

Michael Avenatti, whose only claim to national notoriety rests with his legal representation of a porn star who alleges she had a one-night stand with a future president of the United States, says he is considering a run for — gulp! — the presidency of the United States.

Oh … my … goodness!

Do you know what this tells me? It tells me that Donald J. Trump’s election as president in 2016 cements the notion that anyone can be be elected to the highest office in the land. Prior qualifications don’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether they have prior public service experience. Nor does it matter if they understand fully the complicated machinery that constitutes the federal system of government.

Avenatti was, shall we say, on no one’s radar prior to emerging as Stormy Daniels’s lawyer.

“I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States, and I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework,” Avenatti told the Des Moines Register.

As the saying goes: Only in America.

Birtherism falls along racial lines

Now that some of us have raised the “racism” issue as it concerns Donald Trump’s pointed — and quite specific — criticism of African-American political foes, I want to revisit the issue of “birtherism.”

Trump made a lot of noise years ago about whether Barack Obama was qualified to run for president. He based his questions about the lie that Obama was born in Kenya. Therefore, he couldn’t run for president because, according to the U.S. Constitution, Obama wasn’t a “natural-born” citizen of America.

Obama, of course, was born in Hawaii in 1961. He said so at the outset. He finally produced a birth certificate to prove it. That wasn’t good enough for Trump and many others.

Why did Trump and others continue to foment the lie?

Uhh, let me see. Oh, I think it’s race. Obama’s father was a Kenyan. His mother was from Kansas. Dad was black; Mom was white. Get it?

Now, for the other noted “birther” case. It involves U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who ran against Trump for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016.

Cruz actually was born outside the United States. He was born in Canada. His father is Cuban. His mother is an American.

Sen. Cruz was able to quell the questions with a simple — and generally accepted — interpretation of the Constitution. Since his mother is a U.S. citizen, Baby Ted became a U.S. citizen immediately upon his birth. Therefore, he qualifies as a “natural-born” citizen simply because of his mother’s citizenship.

Hey, that same logic works for the former president, too. His mother was a U.S. citizen, making him an American the moment he came into this wold. Except that wouldn’t fly in the minds of his critics … and that includes the president of the United States.

And all of that presumes he was born somewhere other than the United States! He was born in the U.S.A., but the questions continue to linger even to this day among most Americans who consider themselves to be Republicans.

Is race a factor? Hmm. I believe it is.

‘Lyin Ted’ wants ‘Amoral’ Donald to stump for him? Wow!

Oh, man, I want the president of the United States to accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s request to campaign for him in Texas.

You see, this is a potential “opposition research” gold mine for Democrats seeking to shoot down the Cruz Missile’s attempt at re-election to a second term in the Senate. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke — who’s in a neck-and-neck race with Cruz — ought to welcome it, too.

You’ve got Donald Trump’s infamous nickname for Cruz, who he labeled as “Lyin’ Ted” while competing against him for the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary campaign.

Then he posted that hideous picture of Heidi Cruz, the senator’s wife, on Twitter and sought to compare her unflatteringly with Melania Trump, the future president’s model-wife.

Let us not forget how the GOP nominee then sought to suggest that Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, might have been somehow complicit in President Kennedy’s assassination because he supposedly was seen sharing a meal with Lee Harvey Oswald.

All of this enraged Sen. Cruz. As it should have.

He launched into a scathing attack on Trump, calling him out for the way he treated his family; he called Trump “amoral” and a “pathological liar.” He said Trump has no moral grounding.

Has any of that changed in Sen. Cruz’s mind? He says it has. The public domain, however, is still loaded with those angry words of two years ago, which in reality he cannot take back.

And does Trump think differently now of the man he once called “Lyin’ Ted”? Hmm. I am betting … no!

By all means, Mr. President, come to Texas. Campaign for Cruz. If you come anywhere near where I live in the D/FW Metroplex, I’ll be there with bells on to listen to your off-the-rails campaign-rally speech.

I’ll be sure to have my notebook and pen in hand.

There’s winning and then there’s, um, ‘winning’

A win is a win. In politics, you win when you get more votes than the other candidate.

Then again, you’ve got the so-called “big picture,” or as they’re fond of saying these days, “the view from 30,000 feet.”

The Republican candidate for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, Troy Balderson, has more votes at this moment than his Democratic opponent, Danny O’Connor. Balderson got a boost at the last minute from Donald Trump, who ventured to central Ohio to stump for the GOP candidate.

No doubt the president will take credit for Balderson’s apparent victory. I say “apparent” because it’s damn close and they’re still waiting on those “provisional ballots” to be counted; analysts think O’Connor will win most of those votes. Whether they put him over the top remains to be seen. There might be an automatic recount as well if the final vote margin triggers the state-mandated recount law.

However, you’ve got another factor coming into play.

The 12th District is supposed to be one of Ohio’s most solidly Republican districts. Trump carried it by 11 points in 2016. It’s been represented by GOP members of Congress for more than 30 years.

Democrats are proclaiming some sort of moral victory. Republicans will state the obvious: Our guy got more votes than the other guy, that means our guy wins.

What does this razor thin margin mean in a district that the Republican should have won in a walk? It means — to me! — that the GOP may be in deep doo-doo as the 2018 midterm election approaches.

The nation’s top Republican, Donald John Trump Sr., is behaving like a man who fears what a special counsel might uncover about that “Russia thing.”

Where I come from, fecal matter still rolls downhill.

Please, Mr. POTUS, campaign for Ted Cruz

I have just heard that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has asked Donald J. Trump to campaign for him as he seeks re-election to his Senate seat in Texas.

Do you know what that means … for me? It means that there’s a decent chance I’ll be within easy driving distance of a Trump rally if he agrees to campaign in Texas for the Cruz Missile — who once called Trump an “amoral … pathological liar.”

We live just north of Dallas these days. We’ll be on the road for most of August, but we’ll have a lot of time on our hands after we return from our trip out west.

Oh, how I want the president to come here. I would actually attend a campaign rally for Cruz if it takes place anywhere near Collin County, where we live.

Hey, we live in a gigantic metro area comprising roughly 7.5 million residents. That means that if Trump agrees, he well might come, say, to Dallas or Fort Worth to speak on behalf of Cruz.

I want to attend one of those dog-and-pony shows.

I’m a political junkie. I love campaign rallies. I’ve covered two national presidential nominating conventions — the 1988 GOP convention in New Orleans and the 1992 GOP event in Houston. I attended the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte; I had planned to cover it for the Amarillo Globe-News, but I quit that job suddenly just before the start of the convention. I went there with press credentials, but sat in the cheap seats as a spectator.

All of them were a serious blast and I learned so much getting to watch these events up close.

Donald Trump speaking in Texas on behalf of the state’s junior U.S. senator would be a worthwhile event, too.

Do not expect me to flip, to become a Trumpster listening to the president’s ranting and railing, his insult-hurling rhetoric.

As the Houston Chronicle has reported: Cruz is facing a tougher re-election campaign than many first expected. Polls from the last week have shown Cruz holding onto a single-digit lead over (Beto) O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso who has set records for Democrats fundraising in Texas.

Let me be clear: I do not want Cruz to be re-elected. I am going to support the Democratic challenger, O’Rourke. But I do want the president to come here to give Texans an up-close look at what a buffoon he can be when he launches into one of those unscripted riffs in front of adoring fans.

Please, Mr. President. Come to Texas! Hey, the Metroplex ought to be a big lure.

Hoping for a big-time flip

This blog has revealed my partisan leaning. I won’t back away from it. I tilt more toward the Democratic Party than to the Republican Party. You know that already.

As such, my hope for the 2018 midterm election is that Congress flips from Republican control to Democratic control.

Why speak to this now, at this moment? They’re electing a new member of Congress tonight in central Ohio. It’s been a strongly GOP district since the 1980s. It was represented once by one of my favorite Republicans, Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

It well might flip to the Democrats.

Looking at the bigger picture, I want Democrats to take control of the House and Senate as a check against the goofball who serves as president of the United States, Republican (In Name Only) Donald John Trump.

I call Trump a RINO because he has captured the GOP in a way that I cannot yet fathom. His allies in Congress are providing effective political cover for a man who as near as I can tell adheres to no known Republican ideology. We have a cult of personality at work here and I believe it is important for Democrats to take back at least one congressional chamber to act as a hedge against the goofy pronouncements that pour out of POTUS’s mouth … and from his Twitter account.

Ohio’s 12th Congressional District might provide a harbinger of what could happen later this election year.

I think I’ll watch the returns and hope for what I consider to be the best.

Trump tweets making our heads spin

I fear that I am going to lapse into a Linda Blair impersonation, the one in the film “The Exorcist” where her head spins round and round.

Donald J. Trump’s head-spinning reversal of previous lies about a meeting with Russians who reportedly were offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign has my head about to spin right off my shoulders.

The president denied the meeting was called to talk about his campaign against Hillary. He then reportedly dictated a statement that came out under Don Trump Jr.’s name; the statement said the meeting dealt with the adoption of children. That was a lie!

Now the president say, yep, the meeting was called to talk about the Clinton campaign.

He lied. Now he’s telling some version of the truth?

The question now centers on what special counsel Robert Mueller is going to do with this information.

Is the noose tightening? Is the special counsel headed into a blind alley? Have we caught the president in the lie to end all lies? Might there be a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause, which prohibits presidents from accepting gifts from foreign governments?

I’ll circle back to something I was taught when I was a youngster: Tell the truth all the time and you won’t have to worry about the lies catching up with you.