Category Archives: political news

Bring it to the middle, candidates

I dislike radicals on both ends of the vast political spectrum.

Yes, that includes the far lefties who at the moment seem to be dictating the direction the Democratic Party appears to be heading. I guess it’s understood that I harbor an intense loathing of those on the far right; no need to elaborate there.

The 2020 presidential campaign is taking shape.

You’ve got the incumbent on side, Donald Trump. Where he stands on that spectrum remains a mystery to me. He is a Republican In Name Only, the RINO in chief. He’s also a serial liar, a self-proclaimed genius and also a self-proclaimed self-made zillionaire; now that I think of it, the latter two items are related directly to the first one. He is an amoral narcissist who possesses zero empathy for the plights of others. He spent his entire pre-political life enriching himself and looks to me as if he governs in the same manner.

I want the president out of office, but you know that already.

As for the Democrats, I tend to tack toward the centrists. I don’t like the far-left rhetoric that comes from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke . . . and many among the rest of horde of Democrats running for their party’s nomination. That leaves, oh, Amy Klobuchar. Then we have a one-issue hopeful: Jay Inslee.

I remain a devoted centrist. I am a deficit hawk. I want us to remain vigilant in the war against international terror. I favor strong border security (although I do not want to build Trump’s Wall along our southern border). I want to retain the Electoral College system for electing presidents.

On the flip side, I want stronger — not weaker — environmental regulations. I believe Earth’s climate is changing and we need to tackle the crisis head on. I believe transgender Americans deserve to serve in the military if they wish. I support the Affordable Care Act and believe the U.S. Constitution gives women the right to choose whether to terminate their pregnancy and whether same-sex couples have the right to be married.

My hope over time is that we can move the dialogue from the fringe and toward the center.

I am not confused. I once was a radical lefty. The older I get the more shades of gray I see on many issues.

It starts, too, with electing someone who appreciates the majesty of the office to which he or she will be elected. The guy we’ve got now needs to go.

Rookie congresswoman elevated to star status

The Onion is a brilliantly written satire of current events. It is so brilliant that one might actually be inclined to believe its content is true. It isn’t.

Still, the publication has produced something that might as well be true, given the conservative media’s fixation with a rookie Democratic congresswoman from New York City.

The Onion “reports” that Fox News has launched a new premium channel that devotes 24/7 coverage of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC, the well-known (already) socialist who represents a New York City congressional district. Ocasio-Cortez made a big splash in the spring of 2018 when she defeated longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley in the Democratic Party primary; Crowley was considered a potential speaker candidate and already was a member of the Democratic caucus leadership in the House of Representatives.

Ocasio-Cortez was the main attraction at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, with right-wing pundits and pols standing at the podium pontificating on how she wants to destroy the American way of life.

Yep. This freshman member of the House — one of 435 members of the lower legislative chamber — is going to dismember the American economic and political superstructure all by her lonesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are ascribing way too much power to an individual who doesn’t deserve it. She hasn’t earned it. She is a loudmouthed congressional newbie who has managed to capture the attention of the right wing and has ingratiated herself with the far left of her own Democratic Party.

She isn’t the bogeywoman the far right calls her.

Still, I am amazed, astonished and astounded at the attention she is attracting from those who detest her politics. By demonizing her in the manner that they are doing they are elevating her profile to a far greater level than she deserves.

Give her time. She might eventually earn the iconic status some have bestowed on her. Or . . . she might flame out.

Leave it to The Onion, though, to highlight the far right’s goofy fixation with AOC.

Beto has one distinct advantage over rest of huge field

As I ponder the impact of Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the burgeoning Democratic Party presidential primary field, I keep thinking of a distinct advantage he holds over most of the rest of the thundering herd.

He doesn’t have a job at the moment.

Beto once served in Congress. He represented El Paso in Congress for three terms. Then O’Rourke decided to give up his House seat. He ran for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke ignited the Texas Democratic Party, which had been in a state of slumber, er . . . stupor for the past three decades.

O’Rourke almost won!

Now he wants to take the fight to an even higher level. He wants to become president of the United States.

He is running against a lot of U.S. senators, some governors and others who are gainfully employed. Beto doesn’t have a job.

One of the points he sought to make while losing narrowly to Cruz was that the junior senator from Texas spent too much time running for president and too little time casting votes in the Senate.

The many folks who are running against him for president in next year’s Democratic primary will be unable to slather him with mud from that particular pit. He’s jobless at the moment and can devote his waking moments full time to the task of running for POTUS.

He’ll be able to parlay that advantage at least for a little while.

Then he well might have to cope with another high-powered politician with no gainful employment.

Joe Biden? Are you out there?

Cornyn might face a lengthy list of challengers

John Cornyn is now Texas’s latest marked man, politically speaking.

The San Antonio Republican U.S. senator is running for re-election in 2020 and he is facing a lengthy list of Democratic primary candidates who will fight among themselves for the right to run against him directly in the fall.

I have to say that the list of possible foes is looking pretty impressive.

Two names jump out at me: U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who also hails from San Antonio and former state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth. Given the premium voters place on name identification, I would have to rate those two as potential front runners in the Democratic Party primary. Joseph Kopser and MJ Hegar also are in the mix.

Castro is the identical twin brother of Julian, who’s running for president of the United States in 2020. The two are so identical, in fact, that Joaquin is growing a beard (more or less) to distinguish himself from Julian.

Joaquin Castro, I suppose you could say, comes from the more progressive wing of the party. I hesitate to label him a “democratic socialist” in the mold of Bernie Sanders, but he’s out there near the left-end fringe of the party. He hasn’t announced his candidacy for the Senate, just yet. My guess is that he’ll go all in soon.

Then there’s Sen. Davis. She made hay in 2013 with her filibuster in the Legislature against a restrictive anti-abortion bill. She gave Democrats hope that she could break the GOP stranglehold on statewide office — but then she lost to Greg Abbott in 2014 by more than 20 percentage points.

I keep thinking, too, that Beto O’Rourke of El Paso — who is widely considered to be getting set to announce a presidential campaign in 2020 — might enter the Senate donnybrook. I am not going to predict it. I’m just waiting for Beto to announce what he says he’s decided already.

Do I want Sen. Cornyn to lose? Yeah, but not with the passion I wanted O’Rourke to defeat Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. I know John Cornyn. I actually like him personally. He and I have joked about our respective heads of gray hair and has assured me that he was that gray at a much younger age than I was; I believe him, too.

I want the 2020 race between Cornyn and whoever Democratic voters nominate to be as competitive as the 2018 contest turned out to be between O’Rourke and The Cruz Missile.

Texas needs two healthy major political parties and it appears — finally! — that Texas Democrats are awakening from their 30-year slumber/stupor to give Republicans a serious challenge to their superiority.

One-note samba won’t cut it on campaign trail

I’ll give Washington Gov. Jay Inslee plenty of credit for candor.

He announced his candidacy the other day for president of the United States declaring right up front, out loud and for all the world to see and hear that he’s running on one issue only: climate change and the peril it poses for the world’s most powerful nation.

Fine. What about the rest of the job, governor? What about, oh, let’s see: fighting terrorism, creating jobs, fiscal responsibility, dealing with cybersecurity, border security? There are a whole lot of other issues, too.

Inslee wants to make climate change the strongest plank in his platform on which to seek the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2020.

I don’t dispute the urgency he is placing on the matter. I do dispute whether it’s enough all by itself to commend him for nomination and election.

Just as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is running on economic inequality, which kind of mirrors Issue No. 1 for Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Inslee is staking his candidacy on a single issue.

We have Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar in the hunt already. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado is in. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is, too. I know I’m missing someone. There’s too many of ’em to keep up.

The Democratic Party field has reached a dozen candidates so far. There will be more. Many more, or so it appears. Texan Beto O’Rourke appears to be set to go. Former Vice President Joe Biden is letting it slip out that his family is all in on his running for president.

They all need to demonstrate a well-rounded, well-considered and well-tested competence on an array of domestic and foreign policy issues. Climate change is a big one. So is income inequality.

Spare me, though, the one-note samba. I tend to tire of hearing the same thing coming out of candidates’ mouths.

We’ve already elected an incompetent business mogul/boob to the nation’s highest office. We don’t need to train another president on the vast complexities of the nation’s highest office.

Don’t mess with Electoral College

I am a blue voter who lives in a red state. I tilt toward Democratic candidates for president while residing in heavily Republican Texas.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I want to redeclare my view that efforts to circumvent the Electoral College are counterproductive. They shouldn’t go forward.

However, it appears that Democrats in states that lean blue are intent on monkeying around with the Electoral College with legislation that bypasses the system codified in the U.S. Constitution by the nation’s founders.

They want their states to cast their electoral votes for whichever candidate wins the popular vote. It’s part of what is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Is the nation’s electoral system in peril of breaking down? I don’t believe that is the case.

We have had 59 presidenti

al elections in this country since its founding. Only five times has the candidate with fewer votes been elected president.

However, what has alarmed those who want to overhaul the electoral system insist that such a trend is in danger of escalating. They point out that it’s happened twice just since 2000! George W. Bush was elected that year despite getting about a half-million fewer votes than Al Gore. Then in 2016 Donald Trump was elected with nearly 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It fascinates me to know that the move to tinker with the Electoral College is coming from aggrieved Democrats, given that the 2000 and 2016 elections went to the Republican nominee for president.

We are witnessing what I believe is a knee-jerk reaction to an overblown issue. It kind of reminds of me how Republicans in Congress pushed for enactment of the 22nd Amendment limiting presidents to two elected terms; they did so after Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won election to four consecutive terms as president.

Let me reiterate an essential point. If we’re going to change the electoral system, then eliminate the Electoral College. It is an absurd notion to tweak and tug at the edges of the system.

I happen to still believe in the Electoral College system of choosing our president. I endorse the idea that it helps spread the power among more states, giving less-populated states a stronger voice in choosing our head of state.

If we’re going to mess with the Electoral College, then go all the way.

Or else leave it the hell alone!

What a ‘horse race’ this is going to become

Good grief, man! I thought the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary campaign would be one for the books.

I suppose it was, given who won that party’s presidential nomination and then was elected president of the United States.

But this one? Wow! The upcoming Democratic Party primary field figures to eclipse by a good bit the size of the GOP field four years ago.

Seventeen Republicans fought it out for the right to succeed Barack Obama as president in 2016. The upcoming election campaign already features 10 or 11 announced Democratic candidates and we’re nowhere near finished seeing the entire field filled out.

How do you suppose the media will cover this thundering herd of candidates looking to succeed Donald Trump?

They’re already in full horse-race mode. Former Vice President Joe Biden is thought to be the frontrunner — and he is one of those who has not yet announced whether he’s going to run for POTUS in 2020. It looks like he’s going to do it.

The horse race aspect of the media coverage is the kind of thing that drives me a nuts. I get batty listening to and reading reports of who’s up, who’s down, who’s an up-and-comer, who’s the has-been.

I hope to hear more issues discussion this year than we’ve experienced over the past several election cycles.

Donald Trump likes to boast about crowd size, TV ratings and the scope of his intelligence. What will Democrats offer in response? I hope whoever emerges from the huge initial field will talk about how they intend to repair the damage that Donald Trump has done to the presidency — not to mention to the country.

POTUS disgraces himself — yet again! –with CPAC tirade

Mr. President, you keep outdoing yourself.

You stand before crowds of fervent supporters and fly off the rails. There you were again today in front of the Conservative Political Action Conference firing off an expletive-laden tirade against your foes.

You’re not sounding very “presidential,” Mr. President — and your performance today makes me wonder if I should even refer to you with that courtesy title. You haven’t earned it.

But I’ll do so out of respect for the office, even though I still cannot connect the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively.

How dare you mock the accent of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions! How dare you also refer to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as “sh***y” Schiff.”

Get a grip, Mr. President

Mr. President, you don’t deserve the title you hold. I get that you were elected to it as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. I so want to call you “my president.” Displays such as the one you put on today make it increasingly more difficult for me to bestow the respect to which your high office should entitle you.

You, sir, are a disgrace.

Waiting for Beto’s decision

I think it’s a good bet that Beto O’Rourke, who says he’s made his decision regarding the 2020 political season, is not going to run for a seat on the El Paso County Commissioners Court.

Nor is he running for the U.S. Senate against John Cornyn, the senior Texas Republican senator.

Oh, I get it! He’s going to announce he is running for president of the United States. Is that it? Sure it is! Or so many observers are saying.

I am trying to get excited about it. I am not there. At least not yet.

O’Rourke came tantalizingly close to defeated U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. He got Texas Democrats all fired up. He gave them hope that if a Democrat can come within a couple of percentage points of winning a statewide race, then perhaps there will be a chance for the party to break the GOP vise grip on the political structure.

But is the young man, a former El Paso congressman, ready for the Big Show? A big part of me wonders if he’s up for the biggest job on Earth.

Were he to be nominated and then run against Donald Trump for the presidency, O’Rourke would have my support. I just wonder if he’s able to defeat a gigantic field of Democrats lining up to take down the president of the United States.

He’s going to liven this contest up . . . even more than it is already.

Why not a maximum age for POTUS?

Garland, Texas, resident Cynthia Stock poses an interesting question today in a letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News.

She notes that we have a minimum age for U.S. senators (30 years); she doesn’t mention that you have to be at least 25 years of age to run for the U.S. House and 35 to run for president.

Stock wants to know why we don’t impose a maximum age for presidential candidates. Hmm. Let me think. Does she have a couple of senior citizens in mind, such as 77-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders (who’s running for the Democratic nomination) and former VP Joe Biden (who might run for POTUS in 2020)?

The nation needs fresh ideas, fresh vision, fresh leadership, she writes. I wonder if “fresh” is code for “young.”

That’s not a half-bad notion, the more I think about it.

I oppose term limits for members of Congress. I suppose you could take that argument even farther by repealing the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that limits presidents to two elected terms; perhaps we could replace it with another amendment that places upper-end age limits on presidential candidates. Or would that amount to “age discrimination”? I’ll have to think about that.

Stock, though, makes another good point. She notes how the presidency has aged so many of its officeholders. President Franklin Roosevelt was not even 65 years of age when he died in April 1945 of a cerebral hemorrhage; same for President Johnson when he died in January 1973. The presidency took savage tolls on both those wartime presidents.

They were not old men when they died. The office made them much older than their years on Earth.

I’m not endorsing what Ms. Stock has proposed. I just thought it to be worth noting.