Tag Archives: 2012 election

McConnell wants what? Bipartisanship? For real?

I gave myself one of those proverbial forehead slaps when I heard this tidbit: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants there to be more “bipartisanship” in the next Congress.

Huh? He said what? This comes in the form of an op-ed column from the obstructionist in chief on Capitol Hill?

It took my breath away.

This is the fellow who said in 2010: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Uh, huh. He said that. The 2012 presidential election, of course, dashed Leader McConnell’s dream. President Obama won re-election.

Then came the congressional Republican caucuses singular effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They staged countless votes in the Senate and the House. They came up short. Who led the charge? Mitch did, that’s who.

And then we had the obstruction to end all obstructions in early 2016. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon on the court, died suddenly in Texas. Justice Scalia’s body had barely gotten cold when McConnell declared that President Obama would not get the chance to replace him.

Oh sure, the president can nominate someone, McConnell said, but Republicans were not going to move the nomination forward. Obama nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland — a supremely qualified man — only to watch his nomination wither and die. We had a presidential election to conclude and McConnell banked on the hope that a Republican would be elected. His gamble paid off with Donald Trump’s election.

Now the majority leader wants a more bipartisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

Pardon me while I bust out laughing.

The next Congress will be split. Democrats will control the House; Republicans will lead the Senate. Bipartisanship certainly is the preferred way to govern.

That such a call would come from the U.S. Senate’s leading obstructionist gives “gall” a bad name.

Wishing a Sen. Romney stays true

Mitt Romney doesn’t likely give a rip what a blogger in Texas thinks about his pending new role as a U.S. senator.

He should. He is going to be elected to the Senate from Utah, one of the nation’s most Republican of states. He wiped out his GOP primary foe Tuesday night and will campaign this fall for a seat in the Senate, where he will vote on laws that affect all Americans, including this blogger from Texas.

I have only a single wish for Sen.-to-be Romney. It is that he stays true to his belief that Donald John Trump is a “phony” and a “fraud.” And that he holds the president accountable for the lies he keeps blurting. And … that he makes sure that he won’t roll over for the president because of some fear of political retribution.

Mitt didn’t get my vote for president in 2012 when he ran against Barack H. Obama. That doesn’t mean I dishonor him. He had an uphill climb against an incumbent president and he lost the popular vote by roughly 5 million ballots and the Electoral College vote 332-206.

However, Romney was spot on in his critique of Trump during the 2016 election. He told the truth about the GOP nominee.

I know he’s a good party man. I also know that as a newly minted resident of Utah, he has to be sure to protect his new constituents’ interests. Nothing he says about the president should endanger any federal program that benefits Utahns.

But I do not want him to play dead in front of a president who — in my mind — is exactly how Mitt Romney has described him … as a “phony” and a “fraud.”

National debt? Hey, it’s still growing!

Donald Trump made a lot of promises when he ran for president of the United States.

Many of them were bold and audacious. One of them involved the national debt. He reaffirmed to the Washington Post in April 2017 that he would wipe it out over eight years, presuming he would be re-elected in 2020.

Let’s see. How’s he doing? Not too well. The national debt has, um, exploded in the first year and a half of his presidency. It has surged past the $21 trillion mark and is proceeding at a breakneck pace well beyond that total.

The Congressional Budget Office is reporting that the national debt, fueled by tax cuts and immense increases in government spending, is on a fast track into deep outer space.

According to CBS News: “At 78 percent of gross domestic product, federal debt held by the public is now at its highest level since shortly after World War II,” the CBO found. “If current laws generally remained unchanged, the Congressional Budget Office projects, growing budget deficits would boost that debt sharply over the next 30 years; it would approach 100 percent of GDP by the end of the next decade and 152 percent by 2048. That amount would be the highest in the nation’s history by far.” 

Republicans were so very quick to excoriate Democratic President Barack H. Obama over the national debt. The GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney sought to make the debt one of the centerpieces of his effort to defeat Obama. Then came Trump, the dealmaker in chief, the business tycoon and, oh yes, the self-proclaimed “King of Debt,” to tell us he would eliminate the national debt by the end of his presidency.

Well, at this rate, Mr. President, you have to get busy.

I mean, real busy.

Hoping for a ‘Sen. Romney’

I cannot believe I am about to write this blog post.

No kidding, I am excited about Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate from Utah.

The 2012 Republican Party’s presidential nominee didn’t get my vote when he ran against President Barack H. Obama. That was then. Six years later, he now stands as a possible deterrent to another Republican, the current president of the United States, Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump.

Romney wants to succeed Orrin Hatch in the U.S. Senate. He has some Utah connection, although he will face the “carpetbagger” charge from those who might oppose his candidacy. Romney ran for the Senate in Massachusetts, losing in 1994 to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He then was elected governor of the Bay State. Mitt has lived most recently in southern California.

But in 2002, he did step in to rescue the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Plus, he has strong ties to the Mormon Church — which is headquartered in Utah — and is arguably the nation’s most well-known Mormon.

A Sen. Romney would take office as a leading lawmaker. There will be no “getting acquainted” with this guy. He’s a known quantity, a national political figure of considerable renown.

He also has had his run-ins with Donald Trump. Romney famously called Trump a “fraud” and a “phony” during the  2016 presidential campaign. Thus, Romney potentially could serve as a check on the president’s sometimes-weird instincts.

Yes, I realize he auditioned for a secretary of state appointment in the Trump administration. I also know he likely groveled a bit to get the nod. I don’t hold it against him.

To be honest, I think I would like Mitt Romney if I ever got the chance to meet him. For starters, a Republican who would challenge Trump’s legitimacy as a serious politician is OK in my book.

Mitt Romney becomes the prohibitive favorite to succeed Sen. Hatch. I now will hope he can win this seat — and turn up the heat under the president.

Is this the work of a ‘fraud’?

I wasn’t looking for proof of a political accusation, but one has presented itself anyway.

In 2016, former Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney peeled the bark off the party’s primary frontrunner when he called Donald John Trump Sr. a “fraud” and a “phony.”

I thought at the time that the 2012 GOP nominee was talking exclusively about Trump’s penchant for bellicosity and insults. However, in the past few days, some things have come into sharper focus.

The president campaigned for office proclaiming his immense skill as a deal maker. He promised time and time again on the stump that he’d make the “best deals” in the history of humankind … or words to that effect. He vowed that the nation no longer would be snookered into falling for “bad deals.”

Well, here we are. One year into Trump’s time in office, the nation’s government is shut down. The president has been unable to deliver on one of those fundamental promises of his winning presidential campaign. He hasn’t cut any deal at all, let alone any bad deals.

I guess I can presume that’s what Mitt meant when he called Trump a “fraud.”

The late, great heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali used to say about his predictions about when he’d knock his foes out that “It ain’t braggin’ if you do it.”

Donald Trump needs to quit braggin’ if he can’t deliver the goods.

GOP turns wacky, man!

Just how crazy has the modern Republican Party become?

Get a load of this …

According to an essay in RealClearPolitics, Mitt Romney — the 2012 GOP nominee for president of the United States — is considered an “outlier” should he win election to the U.S. Senate later this year.

You might ask: Why is that?

The Republican Party has become the party of a man who not long ago wasn’t even considered a Republican. I refer to Donald J. Trump, the current president and a man who Mitt Romney has criticized with extreme prejudice.

Romney is considered the odds-on favorite to win the open U.S. Senate in Utah; Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, is bowing out at the end of the year. Romney hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, but virtually everyone thinks he will.

He also was considered to be the epitome of establishment GOP principle. Romney was considered a fiscal and social conservative, a pro-business sort of fellow. He campaigned for president in 2012 calling himself a “severe conservative.”

That might have been enough for doctrinaire Republicans to embrace him.

However, he has taken Donald Trump to task with, um, severe vigor.

In 2016, he called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.” He delivered his anti-Trump mantra in a 17-minute speech that raised plenty of hackles among the Republican “base” that had endorsed Trump’s presidential candidacy.

And just recently, Romney labeled the president’s description of African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as “sh**hole countries” as “antithetical to American values.” The RealClearPolitics essay found that fascinating because “most of Trump’s Republican denouncers are either comfortably outside of Congress or on their way out.”

Romney, meanwhile, is likely on his way in, heading for a sure-fire electoral victory in the U.S. Senate contest in Utah.

All of this to my mind paints a picture of a major political party in a state of serious disarray. It has attached itself to an individual, rather than a set of principles.

Thus, I welcome Mitt Romney’s return to public life. My hope is that he continues to remind us that the president really and truly is a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Dear Mr. (Former) President …

We’ve entered the month that will mark the first year of the start of Donald John Trump’s term as president.

That day will occur on the 20th of January.

I thought I would mark that event a bit early with an open letter to the man he succeeded as president of the United States.

It goes like this:

***

Dear Barack:

I hope it’s OK if I call you by your first name, now that you’re no longer president.

As you know, it’s been a rough and rowdy year since you, your wife and daughters lifted off the White House lawn and took up status as private citizens.

I just wanted you to know a few things.

First, I wish you were still on the job. Yes, I know that you were anxious to leave. I also know you and your lovely wife chafed at times at being under the world’s microscope 24/7. But that’s what you signed on for when you took the oath twice. Still, I don’t begrudge you for being glad to be sleeping in, going where you want when you want and not being held to airtight scheduling.

I was proud to vote twice for you. You inspired me, even though I’m a good bit older than you are. You made me almost as proud of those two votes as I was the first time I voted for president in 1972. I cast that vote for George McGovern. It didn’t work out well that year for my guy. In 2008 and again in 2012, I was proud to count my votes among the 135 million ballots you collected in your two winning campaigns.

I know you get lots of these kinds of notes. I hope you see this one.

It’s been tough to watch your successor struggle just learning how to act presidential. To your immense credit, you had none of that kind of on-the-job  training. Then again, you at least brought some knowledge of government when you took the oath the first time.

I can’t let this opportunity pass without acknowledging that you weren’t the perfect president. You made some mistakes. I am particularly chagrined that you drew the “red line” in Syria, but then didn’t act on it when the Syrian military crossed the line and used chemical weapons on their citizens.

The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. It needs fixing. At least you had the guts to say as much and offered to work with congressional Republicans to improve it. They weren’t having any of that. Shame on them.

That’s all water over the dam. You’re now in private life. I am glad for you. But damn, I sure wish there was a way we could get you back.

With that, young man, I’ll offer this final thought.

Yes, we did! Well done, Mr. President.

Alabama cedes national attention to … Utah!

Many Americans, including me, were fascinated by the election of a U.S. senator from Alabama.

The election turned out the correct way. It was a big surprise. Democratic nominee Doug Jones won and is now the senator-elect from one of the nation’s strongest Republican-leaning states.

Now we have another state. It’s out west. It’s Utah. Orrin Hatch is the U.S. Senate’s longest-serving Republican … in the history of the Senate! He is considering whether to run for an eighth six-year term. Sen. Hatch, though, does not have the backing of Utah’s largest newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, which named him “Utahn of the Year,” but said he earned the “honor” by demonstrating a new level of crass political ambition. The Tribune wants voters to choose someone else if Hatch decides to run again; the paper, obviously, wants him to retire.

If Hatch does call it quits, it opens the door for Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a man considered the odds-on favorite to be elected to the Senate in 2018.

Utah drama shaping up

Why is this so fascinating? I’ll tell you. Hatch is a Donald Trump ally; Mitt Romney is, um, not an ally of the president. Sen. Hatch gave Trump his backing on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act; he stood behind the president on the GOP-authored tax cut.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, calls Trump a “fraud” and a “phony.” He despises the way Trump has lied; he detests the president’s disparaging of individuals and groups.

Would a Sen. Romney be as closely tied to Trump as Sen. Hatch. I would hope not.

I have developed a significant respect for Romney since the 2012 presidential election. He was courageous enough to deliver a blistering speech during the 2016 campaign in which he hung the fraud and phony label on Trump.

Sure, Trump pondered whether to appoint Romney as secretary of state. The men shook hands. They seemed to bury the hatchet.

But my hope would be that Romney would travel down a more independent path than Hatch has trod.

My request of Sen. Hatch? Listen to what the Tribune said about you. Call it a career. As the Tribune noted, Hatch told Utah voters in 1976the year he was elected for crying out loud — that senators shouldn’t stay too long.

Watch this intraparty battle get real hot

Mitt Romney wants to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah.

His candidacy will depend on whether Orrin Hatch seeks re-election next year. Hatch, the Senate’s longest-tenured Republican, hasn’t yet made his decision.

But, oh my, this fight is getting nasty before it’s even started.

You see, Mitt is no fan or friend of Donald John Trump. He has called the president a “fraud” and a “phony.” The president’s wing man, former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, has decided to suggest that Mitt was a draft dodger, that his religious mission work in France during the Vietnam War was a tactic to keep him from serving in the military.

Romney’s allies in Utah are coming to his defense. They have blasted Bannon for questioning Romney’s love of country, his patriotism, his character; Bannon even took a swipe at Mitt’s entire family.

Hatch defends his friend

There has been some speculation that Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, might run even if Hatch decides to seek another term. I would doubt that will occur.

My hope is that Mitt goes for it. I also hope Hatch decides to retire. He’s been on the job for decades. Hatch, at times, has shown an ability and willingness to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats; my guess is that Romney could do the same if he gets elected.

As for Bannon — the guy that Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly fired — he ought to tone down the tough talk. It’s unbecoming.

What’s more, Romney has done more in service to his country than Bannon ever thought of doing.

Finally, Romney happens to be right about the president, someone I consider to be the phoniest fraud ever to occupy the office. A U.S. Senate seat would give him a wonderful platform to hold the president accountable for his words and deeds.

Mitt was ahead of his time

It’s time for a serious mea culpa.

Mitt Romney once declared during the 2012 presidential campaign that Russia presented the “greatest geopolitical threat” to the United States of America.

I was one of millions of Americans who laughed at the Republican presidential nominee.

Five years later, I regret laughing. I regret dismissing Mitt’s assessment. I regret writing some negative blog posts about what the nominee said.

We are learning today — and in the course of the Donald J. Trump campaign and his presidential administration — that the previous GOP nominee was ahead of his time.

It can be argued, I suppose, that international terrorists presented a greater geopolitical threat than Russia in 2012. Our special forces had just killed Osama bin Laden, but al-Qaeda was still going strong. The Islamic State had emerged as a monstrous threat as well.

The Russians, to my mind, seemed at the time to have been relegated to a back bench.

Silly me. Mitt Romney seems to have been spot on.

The Russians are undermining NATO; they invaded Ukraine; they are propping up a murderous regime in Syria. They also sought to affect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The startling revelation today from Donald J. Trump Jr. that he accepted a meeting invitation anticipating dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton from the Russian government suggests an existential threat to this nation’s sovereignty.

There’s still a lot of ground to cover before we determine any criminality on the part of the Trump presidential campaign. However, I do believe it is becoming quite clear that the Russians remain a force with which we must reckon.

Gov. Romney, I hereby apologize for doubting you.