POTUS fatigue setting in?

I fear that I am on the verge of suffering from terminal POTUS fatigue.

I don’t expect to croak from it. I don’t even know if I’ll suffer an emotional collapse, or any kind of psychological breakdown.

I’m just wearing out. Maybe. Possibly.

The president of the United States is conducting himself and his office in a way none of us have ever witnessed. Do you remember “No Drama Obama,” with the previous president operating on level plain? He disliked the tumult, turmoil and tempest that occasionally comes with the office.

Donald John Trump Sr.? He relishes it! He looks for it! He wants to govern daily with chaos, confusion — and perhaps a bit of corruption — all swirling around him.

Good grief! He goes to Europe to meet with the most dependable allies this nation on planet Earth and then proceeds to p** them all off. He wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.

The president then goes to the United Kingdom, talks to the Sun newspaper, criticizes British Prime Minister Teresa May’s handling of the British exit from the European Union and then offers an endorsement of former British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson to be the UK’s next prime minister.

And then he denies saying it!

There’s more. He travels to Helsinki. He and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin meet for two hours, just the two of them. Then he comes out and declares that U.S. intelligence experts’ assertion about Russian attacks on our electoral process are not to be believed; he believes Putin’s denial.

And this is what happened just in the past week!

His entire presidency has been rife with weeks just like this, although the stakes of this week’s weirdness are getting more compelling all the time.

I need to get a good night’s sleep. I’ll awaken in the morning. I’ll be refreshed. I’ll get back at it.

How in the world does the president function like this?

Let the Russians question former envoy? What the … ?

This isn’t happening. This cannot be allowed to happen. If Donald J. Trump allows it, he’s got a noggin full of rocks.

Vladimir Putin reportedly floated the idea with the president over whether Russian government officials could question a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.

Trump then reportedly took the suggestion seriously and has asked White House legal eagles to examine whether it’s possible.

I repeat: This cannot be allowed to happen.

Putin apparently wants to interrogate McFaul in the wake of the Justice Department indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers. He might want to pick McFaul’s brain to figure out what he knew, if anything, about anything involving the Trump presidential campaign.

This is ridiculous, absurd, utterly frightening proposal coming from the former head of the Soviet Union’s spy agency, the KGB. To suggest that we could compel a former ambassador to talk to a foreign hostile power is preposterous on its face.

McFaul wrote this, according to Politico: “I hope the White House corrects the record and denounces in categorical terms this ridiculous request from Putin,” McFaul tweeted Wednesday. “Not doing so creates moral equivalency between a legitimacy US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin.”

Putin is an even more egregious liar than his pal in the White House. And, man, that’s saying something.

This superstar is big enough already

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred no doubt meant well when he said some nice things about Mike Trout, who is generally considered to be the best player in baseball.

He said Trout, a center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels, would be an even “bigger star” if he “spent more time marketing himself.”

How about that? The commissioner is encouraging a young, relatively humble star athlete to engage in more self-aggrandizement.

Then came the response from the Angels organization. It was classic. The team’s response? Mike Trout is not wired in the way Manfred would like: “Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools and countless other charities.”

Trout said: “I do as much as I can. But it’s a long baseball season. I got to pick and choose when I want to do things and go from there.”

It’s rare these days to see blue-chip athletes who earn millions of dollars annually to play a kids’ game who are not interested in looking for ways to improve their brand.

From all that I’ve read about Mike Trout — admittedly it’s not a great deal, but enough — he seems to be the genuine article. He is one hell of a baseball talent. He’s well compensated for his skill as a hitter, a defensive player and as a great teammate.

I won’t condemn the MLB commissioner for seeking even more glory for one of his sport’s premier athletes.

I will salute, however, Mike Trout and his team for saying, in effect: Thanks … but no thanks.

Trump a traitor: not yet … maybe

I am getting mildly uncomfortable with all the chatter about the alleged acts of treason that Donald J. Trump may have committed.

I hear it from my social media network of “friends” and friends; I use the term in those two forms, because some of my social media “friends” aren’t the real thing, just acquaintances.

I’m not yet ready to climb aboard the treason bandwagon.

Yes, I am horrified at what I am seeing from this president. His groveling at Vladimir Putin’s feet. His disparaging of our intelligence networks’ view that Russia attacked our electoral system. His constant and incessant lying about almost any topic you can imagine.

Having said all that, I am going to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller to complete the task that’s been handed to him. The Justice Department picked the former FBI director to look closely at allegations of “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russians who interfered in our 2016 election.

I have high faith in Mueller’s integrity and in his ability to conduct a meticulous investigation. I reject categorically any notion that his probe is “the most corrupt in history,” as some on Trump’s legal team have asserted.

However, until he finishes his work and issues a final report, I want to remain a bit circumspect over what the president might have done, or whether he, indeed, has betrayed the nation that elected him to the highest office in our land.

Others are free to express themselves. I’ll continue to offer my own view on what I think of Trump as president. I make no apology for my own disdain for him as a person and my sincere belief in his unfitness for the job he occupies.

I just am not yet going to hang the worst possible label on him until we hear from the man charged with getting all the information out to the public that needs to know the truth about how this guy got elected to office.

WH press flack redefines rhetorical elusiveness

I am going to offer a tip of the hat — sort of — to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The White House press secretary is either (a) exceedingly quick on her feet or (b) gets a thorough briefing from other West Wing staffers on how to answer direct questions.

Sanders got a question today about Donald J. Trump’s answer when he was asked by a reporter whether he still thought Russia posed a threat to our electoral system, as it did in attacking it during the 2016 presidential election.

The president said “no.” He said Russia did not pose a threat.

Sanders got the question at the White House press briefing: Did the president really mean to say Russia was not trying to interfere in our midterm election?

She said the “no” response to the question was the president’s way of saying “no more questions” from the media.

Isn’t that clever? Slick? Cagey?

It’s also untrue.

Sanders trotted out that amazing response to chief of staff John Kelly’s visible body language while Trump — at the NATO meeting in Brussels — was scolding the Germans over their supposedly being under the “total control” of Russia. A reporter asked her about Kelly’s reaction. She said he was angry because he wanted a full breakfast, but instead got only “pastry and cheese.”

That, dear reader, is hilarious.

Except that I ain’t laughing. Neither should you. It’s deceptive. She’s lying for her boss.

How ‘stable’ can POTUS remain?

I know that Donald J. Trump calls himself a “stable genius.”

Why, he even inserted the word “very” in his most recent self-glorification. His use of the v-word reminded me of something one of my mass communications professors asked me when he read one of my stories: “What does the word ‘very’ do for you?”

George Carver didn’t like the word. He thought it was unnecessary. He was right.

The president’s “stability” must be getting tested these days. He goes to Europe and has a generally hideous meeting with NATO leaders; then he ventured to London and trashed his host, Prime Minister Teresa May, only to deny he said what was published in the Sun newspaper.

It got even worse. Trump went to Helsinki and groveled at Vladimir Putin’s feet, said he didn’t know why Russia “would” interfere in our election; then he kinda/sorta took it back — the next day! — by saying he meant to say “wouldn’t.” Whatever.

The scorn is piling up. Our allies abroad cannot trust the president. He’s being played for a fool by Russia. The critics at home now include many from within his own Republican Party. Former CIA boss John Brennan and others are saying Trump’s Helsinki presser was “treasonous.”

How much can this guy take?

Oh, wait. The president has no shame. A shameless man has a deep well of whatever it is that allows him to delude himself.

Collusion: still a wide open question

Donald J. Trump keeps insisting that “there was no collusion.”

He does so repeatedly. With vigor. With passion. With emphasis.

My gut tells me the president is protesting far too much. He calls special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation a “rigged witch hunt.” He says the allegations against his 2016 presidential campaign are “phony,” that they’re a “hoax” concocted by Democratic Party pols who are still sore at losing the election two years ago.

Let’s take a breather, shall we?

Mueller’s investigation is going to conclude eventually. I hope it’s soon. To that extent, I agree with the president that I want the probe to wind down sooner rather than later.

But … and this is critical: The investigation must be allowed to reach its conclusion under its own power.

Mueller is not the partisan hack that Trump and his allies accuse him of being. He is a dedicated public servant. He served as FBI director under two administrations, Republican and Democrat. He took office right after 9/11 and stayed on for a couple of years after George W. Bush left office; he served well under the Obama administration.

The president’s constant bitching about “witch hunts” and “phony” allegations ring hollow. It’s instructive that Mueller has imposed air-tight discipline on his legal team while Donald Trump’s team keeps yapping about “corrupt investigation” and threats of impeaching the deputy attorney general who appointed Mueller to the special counsel job.

I am aware that there’s nothing illegal about colluding with a foreign government. This investigation, though, won’t concern itself with whether anyone broke the law if they worked in tandem with Russian goons who attacked this country’s political system.

The public needs to focus also on whether it was right, presuming that Mueller’s team reaches that conclusion.

If the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, then we’re going to witness the unraveling of an administration. The Mueller team will deliver its findings in due course.

If it determines there was no collusion, as the president insists, then I fear the tumult won’t subside. I am inclined to accept whatever conclusion Mueller reaches.

If only Americans could rely on Donald J. Trump to accept such findings and then move on. He won’t.

This much I know already: Robert Mueller is still hard at work seeking answers to questions that have lingered since the 2016 election. Let the man and his legal team finish their task.

Mr. POTUS … the spooks say the Russians are still at it

There he goes … again!

Donald John Trump has shoved a proverbial dagger into the back of the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats.

The DNI has declared that “red lights should be blinking” as the Russians prepare to interfere in our midterm election later this year. What does the president say this morning in advance of a Cabinet meeting?

He said Russia “is not targeting” the United States. The Russians aren’t attacking our national political process, he said.

So, the president’s chief spook — a one-time Republican U.S. senator from Indiana — says one thing. The president says another.

Who do you believe? I’ll stick with DNI Coats.

Good grief, dude!

The president said in Helsinki that he doubted the intelligence networks’ findings that Russia had attacked our system in 2016. Then he sought — more than 24 hours later! — to take it back. He said dropped a word — the contracted version of “not” — in explaining that he meant to say the Russians meddled in our election.

He has made a mess of this explanation, his backing away from his earlier remarks and his belief in the pros who seek to keep Americans safe from our foreign adversaries.

Now this. The DNI says the Russians are coming after us again. Trump says they aren’t.

How much more of this Oval Office idiocy can Dan Coats take?

Texas on the way to turning purple?

If you live long enough you get to see lots of trends and transitions.

Politically, that’s the case for those of us who’ve spent a substantial amount of time in Texas, a state that once was “blue” before Democrats got tagged with that color label. Then it turned “red” — bigly, if you will.

I arrived in the Golden Triangle in the spring of 1984 to take up my post on the editorial page of the Beaumont Enterprise. The Triangle was among the last “Yellow Dog Democrat” bastions in Texas. That designation ID’d those who’d rather for a “yellow dog” than vote for a Republican. Its strong union movement voting bloc, along with its hefty African-American population, stayed true to their Democratic roots.

Then it began to change. Slowly, but inexorably, right along with the rest of the state.

Over time, Republicans captured long-held Democratic public offices.

These days, the state is about as Republican as any in the nation. The GOP occupies every statewide office. The last Democrat to win a statewide race was in 1998. That’s two decades, man!

Decades later, the state might on the verge of entering another transition stage.

Don’t misconstrue my reasons for welcoming the change. My major reason for rooting for a resurgent Democratic Party is my desire to keep the other major party, the GOP, more accountable for the decisions its officeholders make.

Believe this or not — and you are entitled to disbelieve it if you wish — but I was leery of total Democratic control upon my arrival in Texas. I felt that Democratic pols took voters for granted, much like Republicans do today. And I said so at the time using my forum at the Enterprise.

Are we going to see a sweep of all statewide offices on the ballot in 2018? Hardly. My strong sense is that Republicans will maintain their vise grip on most of the state offices being contested. You know already that I want one of those GOP seats to flip: the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by the Cruz Missile, Ted Cruz, who is running against El Paso Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke; I’ll likely have much more on that contest later.

There might be a more competitive climate up and down the ballot as well. Democrats might be able to declare some sort of moral victory if they make Republican foes squirm.

That is not a bad thing for the general well-being of a state’s general political health.

My hope, thus, for a more “purple” hue does spring eternal.

Comey joins the partisan political fray

Oh, my. There’s something vaguely weird about a former FBI director becoming a partisan warrior on the eve of this year’s midterm congressional election.

James Comey, whom Donald J. Trump fired as FBI boss in May 2017, now says the following: “All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall,” he wrote. “Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us.”

A part of me wants to embrace Comey’s view. However, I wish the embattled former FBI director would have stayed clear of direct partisan battling.

It’s widely known that Comey is a longtime Republican. He said he didn’t vote in the 2016 election, preferring to maintain some semblance of objectivity as he did his job as leader of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency.

Now, though, all bets are off.

Comey already is an inviting target among conservative mainstream media and die-hard Donald Trump loyalists. They have hurled a barrage of insults and accusations at Comey in the wake of his memoir in which he declares that Trump is “morally unfit” to serve as president of the United States.

So, get ready for the bombardment to resume. It won’t be pretty.

Commentary on politics, current events and life experience

%d bloggers like this: