Category Archives: political news

Was the 2016 election ‘rigged,’ Mr. POTUS?

Mr. President, I lost count of the number of times you said that the 2016 election would be “rigged” if Hillary Rodham Clinton were to win the presidency.

I remember how it became a sort of campaign stump speech mantra. You kept hammering away at what you said would be a “rigged” result stemming from what you said were “Crooked Hillary’s” instincts. I recall how you said the Democratic Party rigged its nomination outcome to ensure Clinton would carry the party banner against you over Bernie Sanders.

Well, your victory surprised a lot of us, Mr. President.

But then came the reports of Russian hackers interfering in our electoral system. I accept that Robert Mueller’s investigation said you and your campaign didn’t conspire to collude with the Russians.

However, his insistence that the Russian interfered on your behalf brings to mind the question: Was the 2016 election “rigged” to benefit you, Mr. President, over your opponent?

You have kept so very quiet about that aspect of the election. I know you have stood by your pal Vladimir Putin’s denial that he interfered in our electoral process. I also know how you’ve undercut the nation’s intelligence network that says categorically that the Russians interfered in our election.

I once thought out loud that the Russian attack didn’t have a discernible impact on the election result. I have changed my mind.

Impeachment without conviction: a non-starter

The idea of impeaching Donald John Trump with next to zero hope of obtaining a conviction is to my mind the classic recipe for a non-starter.

That appears to be the calculation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made in her reluctance to launch impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.

I happen to agree with the notion that an impeachment by itself will do nothing constructive for those who believe as many of us do: that they want Donald Trump removed from office. Impeachment is the easy part. Democrats need a simple majority to impeach the president. Conviction is different. Republicans control the Senate, which would need 67 votes to convict the president. Will that happen? Hardly.

The daylong testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller this week was seen as the “aha” moment for congressional Democrats. It wasn’t. Mueller stuck to his script. He said he wouldn’t speak beyond what his lengthy report concluded about Trump and he was generally faithful to that pledge.

Mueller’s report concluded that his 22-month probe produced insufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiring to collude with Russian election hackers; nor was he able to indict the president on obstruction of justice, following Office of Legal Counsel rules and guidelines.

Despite all that, Mueller laid it out there: Trump likely committed a crime. That has gotten Democrats slathering over the prospect of impeaching him.

Hold on! What is the point of impeaching the president if the Senate won’t convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors and thus, remove him from office?

I am now believing more strongly than ever — and it pains me to say this — that impeachment is off the table. The only path left is for Trump’s opponents to focus solely on the crimes he committed as a candidate for the office and as president and use the knowledge they have obtained to pound Trump senseless on the 2020 presidential campaign trail.

I wish there was a way to remove the president before the election. I don’t see it developing. The man sickens me at a deeply visceral level. I want him gone. I had hoped that Robert Mueller would have changed minds, that he could have gotten those obsequious Republicans to move off their fawning fealty for Donald Trump.

It ain’t gonna happen.

The time is coming for Democrats to prepare instead for a presidential campaign for the ages.

Boycotts prove to be a counterproductive statement

I’ll get this off my chest right off the top.

I hate boycotts of businesses because their ownership happens to adhere to a certain political point of view or supports a certain political officeholder.

Home Depot is the latest mega-business to feel the sting of boycott. Its owner and founder, Bernie Marcus, happens to support Donald J. Trump’s re-election in 2020; he is pledging lots of money to assist in that effort.

Social media have exploded over this development. Social media users are seeking to boycott the company because Home Depot just cannot possibly be allowed to support and endorse Trump.

Good grief, man!

Why do I hate boycotts? They inflict too much collateral damage on individuals and families who get caught in the crossfire.

Now, do I endorse Home Depot’s corporate view in support of Trump? Of course not! But that’s not the point here. My intense refusal to take part in such an activity is because I would be taking money away from the store employees who might share the view of their corporate ownership.

Why punish the store clerk, or the warehouse personnel, or the drivers, or service technicians, or the installers? For all any of us knows, they might be on our side in this dispute, but draw a paycheck from someone on the other side.

I would be inclined to join a boycott only if the store clerk demanded I give money to a political campaign or preached to me about the virtues of a candidate or an officeholder with whom I have strong disagreements.

Anything short of that? It’s a meaningless gesture.

2020 election really might be the ‘most important in our lifetime’

Every presidential election cycle we hear the same thing: This is going to be the “most important election in our lifetime.”

The candidates say it. Their handlers say it. Many in the media say it.

The election — no matter the context, the backdrop or the candidates — is the “most important” election we’ll see for as long as we live.

You know what? The 2020 election really and truly might be that election. It truly might tell us plenty about ourselves, how much we can tolerate in our political leaders and whether the 2016’s result was much of a fluke as many of us — such as me — believe it was.

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign essentially began the day after he was inaugurated. If not on the day itself!

He has been campaigning basically since the moment he stepped off the podium in front of the Capitol Building.

Why do I attach such significance to this election coming up? Because in my estimation Donald John Trump had no business winning the Republican Party nomination in 2016, let alone winning the election over a supremely more qualified opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yes, Hillary Clinton had plenty of negatives. She might not have been the best-suited candidate to oppose Trump, but she at least knows how government works; Trump knows not a damn thing.

He has been lying and misrepresenting almost every aspect of his presidency, starting with the way he has characterized his election. Trump got elected by one of the narrowest margins possible; he lost the actual vote by nearly 3 million ballots but squeaked by with enough Electoral College votes to win the White House. Yes, he won it legally, but it was far from the historic landslide he has portrayed it.

The 2020 election well could be a referendum on a return to what the late Sen. John McCain used to refer to as “regular order.” Trump has upset that order at almost every level imaginable. I am one American who prefers that our president knows government, understands the Constitution and is able to forge relationships — if not friendships — with politicians with whom he has disagreements.

I believe the country can withstand four more years of Trump, but the price would be enormous.

The 2020 election can stem that huge cost. Therefore, this upcoming election could actually be the most important in our lifetime.

‘Midnight Cowboy’ is wrong about Trump

I need to get something off my chest.

I truly admire Jon Voight’s work as an actor. He is a brilliant performer who can portray a male prostitute in “Midnight Cowboy” and President Franklin Roosevelt in “Pearl Harbor.”

However, he is mistaken in saying that Donald Trump is the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.

What is this fellow seeing that others — such as yours truly — are missing?

Voight posted a two-part video to extol the virtues of Donald Trump. It includes this statement, according to CNN: “This job is not easy, for he’s battling the left and their absurd words of destruction,” Voight, 80, said. “Our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln.”

A “moral code of duty”? Voight seems to believe that Trump follows a “moral code” in the conduct of his office. My . . . goodness!

I’ve never detected any form of “moral code” to which the president is faithful. The only “code” he appears to follow stems from whatever is in his best interest, whatever serves his brand, whatever boosts his poll numbers.

Don’t misunderstand me. I will continue to watch Voight’s work. I am able to separate his politics from his art. Indeed, I don’t watch films in which Jon Voight appears because or in spite of his political persuasion. I watch his films because he’s a marvelous actor.

I do not hold his political views against him, any more than I hold Clint Eastwood’s right-leaning politics against him, or the politics of, say, the late John Wayne or the late Charlton Heston against them.

As much as I admire Jon Voight’s work as an actor, I just believe — contrary to his view — that Donald Trump is going to rank as one of the worst presidents in our nation’s history. At almost every level this guy has managed to shred the presidency’s time-honored institutions.

I happen to believe in decorum and dignity in the office. How in the world can anyone — even an early supporter of Trump such as Jon Voight — believe he has conducted himself with any semblance of dignity while protecting the decorum associated with his high office?

There. I feel better now. I don’t want anyone to believe that I won’t spend money on a Jon Voight movie in the future. I just don’t consider his views of Donald Trump to be anywhere near the truth.

Beto’s early burst needs a boost

Beto O’Rourke burst on the national public political stage with a near-miss loss to a Republican U.S. senator in Texas in 2018.

Then the former El Paso congressman launched his presidential campaign and hearts started fluttering beyond Texas’s state line. He raised a lot of money in the first 24 hours of his 2020 presidential candidacy.

But then . . . O’Rourke plateaued. Other Democrats — and there are a lot of ’em out there — began stealing Beto’s thunder. They spoke in many more specifics than O’Rourke has offered.

So now, according to the Texas Tribune, O’Rourke is now finding himself looking for a bit of a reset. He is settling in for the long haul. The Tribune reports that O’Rourke is still campaigning “aggressively,” but he’s now just one among a large field of politicians who want to become the next president of the United States.

Yep. It’s going to be a long one, no matter how O’Rourke finishes this campaign.

The RealClearPolitics poll average has former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the runaway frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination. Biden stands at 41 percent among all the announced candidates; Sen. Bernie Sanders is next at something like 16 percent. Beto stands at 4 percent, according to the RCP poll average.

It’s way too early to write Beto off, just as it way too early to anoint Joe Biden as the next Democratic Party presidential nominee.

I guess O’Rourke’s recent struggles tell us about the fickle nature of the voting public and offer an example of how a candidate cannot rely solely on a prior campaign . . . that he lost!

Russia still poses existential threat

Even though Donald Trump and his grifter son-in-law, Jared Kushner, continue to downplay the threat Russia poses to our electoral system, FBI director Christopher Wray is telling us something profoundly different.

I choose to heed the words of Christopher Wray.

Wray calls the Russian threat a “365-days-a-year threat. And that has absolutely continued.”

Yes, the Russians hacked into our electoral system in 2016. They sowed discord among American voters. They spread “opposition research” material designed to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.

The Russians are the baddest of a whole cast of bad actors.

Donald Trump just can’t bring himself to say it out loud. Neither can Kushner, who recently said that Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged “collusion” posed a greater threat to our democratic system than “a couple of Facebook ads.”

Memo to Kushner: Shut your mouth. And to Trump? Start defending our Constitution, which you pledged to do when you took the presidential oath.

The FBI director is among the cadre of national intelligence and counterterrorism experts who have confirmed what all of us know: The Russians are chiefly responsible for the cyber attack on our system. Mueller said so, too, in his voluminous report on collusion and obstruction of justice.

It simply amazes me that Donald Trump could appoint such a serious grownup to be FBI boss after firing another adult, James Comey. I’m glad he did give Christopher Wray this platform. What’s more, I am delighted to hear the FBI boss use that platform to speak the truth about what he believes happened in the 2016 presidential election, the 2018 midterm election and what likely will occur when we go to the polls again in 2020.

If only the commander in chief would pay attention.

Prisoners have right to vote? Hardly!

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to have his head examined.

The Vermont independent lawmaker who is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, has come up with a doozy of a notion: He wants to give prisoners, convicted felons, the right to vote even while they are locked up!

Call me old-fashioned. Call me a hard-ass if you like. That is about the goofiest idea I have heard from this guy; OK, maybe the free college education for every American rivals this one in the goofiness category.

When someone commits a felony and then serves time in prison for that crime, they surrender certain rights of citizenship. They remain citizens of the United States, but they are unable to do perform certain acts reserved for Americans. They not allowed to walk freely among the rest of us; they cannot possess firearms; they aren’t allowed to drink adult beverages.

And they aren’t allowed to vote in elections!

Sanders and many of the rest of the gigantic Democratic field of presidential candidates are at odds over the voting-rights matter regarding prisoners.

I want to chastise Sen. Sanders today because he is considered one of the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. This notion of granting voting privileges for criminals who are locked up is a non-starter at virtually every level I can consider.

I have no problem with paroled prisoners being allowed to vote. Sanders is in step with other Democratic presidential contenders, all of whom have expressed support for restoring voting rights for those who walk out of prison.

Those behind bars now, sitting in their cells serving time for potentially heinous crimes? Not a chance.

Former VP about to liven an already-lively contest

It appears official, or is about to become official.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to enter the race for the presidency of the United States.

Oh, my. How am I supposed to react to this? I’ll give it a shot.

I am of decidedly mixed feelings about it. I admire Joe Biden’s long record of public service. I appreciate all he endured during his time in the U.S. Senate, starting with his immense personal tragedy stemming from the motor vehicle crash that killed his wife and baby daughter.

He took the senatorial oath and served well for more than three decades. Along the way he sought the presidency twice. He got caught in a plagiarism controversy during his first run; he then lost to Barack Obama in 2008, who then selected him as his running mate.

Biden has been on the public stage for a long time. He has a lengthy record of accomplishment. There has been some embarrassment. He didn’t acquit himself well during those hearings involving Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the woman who accused him of sexual harassment.

I prefer a younger, fresher candidate to challenge Donald Trump in 2020. If it’s not to be, though, I will gladly give VP Biden my support on Election Day.

To be sure, age is an issue. Biden will be 77 years of age were he take the oath in January 2021. Time is no one’s friend. Still, he is the current frontrunner in this enormous field of Democratic hopefuls.

Make no mistake, though, about Biden’s ability to energize the debate. Yes, he is gaffe-prone at times, which might enliven the discussion right off the top.

I simply prefer someone in the White House with a demonstrated commitment to public service. Joe Biden has provided that service dating back to the time I cast my first vote for president.

That’s a long time, man.

Say it isn’t happening, that Roy Moore is coming back

This can’t be happening. If it is, then someone needs to give me the strength to endure what looks like a long, arduous and utterly hideous campaign season.

Roy Moore, the man accused of sexual dalliances with underage girls while he was an adult, might be running for the U.S. Senate next year against the man who beat him for the seat in Alabama.

Oh, the humanity!

New public opinion polling say that Alabama Republicans favor Moore if he chooses to challenge Sen. Doug Jones, who is running for re-election.

The story is tawdry. Women came forward and accused Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, of sexual misconduct involving minor girls. It all happened a long time ago. Moore proclaimed his innocence. He got the belated backing of Donald Trump, who stood behind his fellow Republican.

Moore lost the race to Jones, who took the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions resigned to become attorney general in the Trump administration.

Hey, this is a big deal for all Americans. The Senate enacts laws that affect all Americans. I don’t want Roy Moore within spitting distance of Capitol Hill. Alabama judicial ethics officials suspended Moore twice from that state’s highest court.

Now he wants a chance to enact laws in the Senate? Please . . . no!