Tag Archives: 2016 election

Run, Gov. Weld, run!

Wouldn’t it be just a kick in the backside if William Weld re-creates a Eugene McCarthy moment in the 2020 race for the presidency of the United States?

Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, has formed an exploratory committee to determine whether to mount a primary challenge against Donald Trump. Weld said many other Republicans “exhibit all the symptoms of Stockholm syndrome, identifying with their captor.”

Weld ran for vice president in 2016 on the Libertarian ticket headed by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. The ticket didn’t do too well, gathering just 4.5 million votes, or about 3 percent of the total.

He wants back into the fight, this time as a Republican.

The McCarthy moment? In 1968, the Vietnam War was raging and Sen. McCarthy, a Minnesota Democrat, mounted a Democratic Party primary challenge against President Lyndon Johnson. McCarthy — a vehement anti-war candidate — took his campaign to the nation’s first primary state, New Hampshire.

He then finished a very strong second to President Johnson, sending shockwaves through the Democratic Party establishment. McCarthy’s strong showing brought Sen. Robert F. Kennedy into the race. Then on March 31, 1968, LBJ spoke to the nation to announce an end to the bombing campaign against North Vietnam — and then said he would not seek or accept the Democratic nomination “for another term as your president.”

History does have a way of repeating itself. If only Gov. Weld can mount any sort of serious challenge to the wack job serving as president of the United States.

One’s hope must spring eternal. Mine does.

McCabe gets the nation’s attention

I wanted to watch the “60 Minutes” interview with former acting  FBI director Andrew McCabe partly because the teasers preceding it made it almost an irresistible bit of broadcast journalism.

The interview didn’t disappoint me.

Of all the assertions McCabe made during his interview with CBS correspondent Scott Pelley, the one that got my attention referred to a conversation McCabe had with Donald Trump regarding North Korea’s nuclear ambition.

Trump said he had received assurances from Russian strongman Vladimir Putin that the North Koreans were not developing first-strike nuclear capability. McCabe said he told the president that the U.S. intelligence analysis said precisely the opposite.

Then McCabe asserted that Trump said: “I don’t care. I believe Putin.”

My jaw dropped!

Let me stipulate that I am not going to jump on the treason/traitor haywagon that’s been seen circling around the White House. Some national security gurus and honchos are suggesting some serious crimes have been committed by the president.

Trump backs Putin

I’ll stick with what we’ve all witnessed in real time. Such as that Helsinki joint appearance with Trump and Putin in which the president bought into Putin’s denial about Russian interference in our 2016 election while disparaging U.S. intelligence analysis that said — yep! — the Russians did it.

McCabe’s statement to Pelley only confirms what we have seen and heard. What we don’t yet know is why in the world the president of the United States would believe the assertions of a killer over the very men and women who work to protect us from people like Putin.

Preferring to wait for Mueller report

Let’s see, who should we believe?

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says “evidence is in plain sight” that the Donald Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian government operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

There’s that view.

Then we have U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., who says there is “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian goons.

Clear as mud, right?

I believe I am going to await the findings of the special counsel, Robert Mueller III — the former FBI director and a first-class lawyer — to finish his investigation into the Russia collusion matter.

I also intend to insist that he make his report public. Mueller has spent a several trainloads of public money on this investigation. Thus, the public is entitled to see how its investment has paid off, if it has paid off.

As for chairmen Schiff and Burr, they’re likely viewing this matter through their own partisan prisms. I want to hear from the man who has unique knowledge of what happened.

The nation awaits you, Mr. Special Counsel.

How might POTUS defend his record?

The 2020 presidential election campaign is taking shape. Democrats are lining up seemingly by the dozens to campaign against Donald J. Trump, the Republican incumbent.

I’ll have more to say about the contenders later. Today, I feel the need to explore the type of campaign this incumbent president is going to wage.

Donald Trump had no public service record to commend him for election as president in 2016. He relied instead on a phony argument that he was a self-made zillionaire who worked hard to build a real estate empire from scratch. It turned out that isn’t the case. Voters bought it anyway and he was elected.

Now he’s running for re-election. As the incumbent, the president has a record now on which he must run. He is going to be asked to defend his record. How in the world is he going to do that?

The nation already has undergone two partial government shutdowns on Trump’s watch; a third shutdown might occur at the end of the week. He has groveled in front of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, refusing to acknowledge publicly that Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016. Trump has heaped praise on North Korean despot Kim Jong Un after threatening to blow his country to smithereens with “fire and fury” the likes of which the world has never seen.

He went to Europe and scolded NATO allies because they weren’t paying more for their defense; along the way he has hinted that the United States might withdraw from its most vital military alliance.

Trump campaigned in 2016 on a pledge to build The Wall along our southern border and said “Mexico is going to pay for it”; Mexico isn’t paying for it, period, meaning that he wants you and me to pay the bill. The president’s rhetorical clumsiness has revealed a host of frightening views, such as his assertion that the KKK/Nazi rally in Charlottesville rally and riot included “fine people, on both sides.”

Now that Trump has a record to defend, I am left to ask: How in the world is this guy going to sell it to voters? How does he reach beyond his base of supporters to ensure that he gets re-elected?

He has spent his term in office kowtowing to his base. He has done damn little to reach beyond that core 38 percent of voters who think he is the best thing to happen since pockets on shirts.

Just as Donald Trump defied conventional wisdom by being elected in 2016 with zero public service experience, he seeks to do it again in 2020 by defending a presidential term that has far less to show for it than he will trumpet along the campaign trail.

He savaged his Republican primary foes with insults and innuendo en route to the GOP nomination in 2016; he continued to toss grenades at Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. I look for much more of the same from the incumbent this time around.

The 2016 presidential campaign was ugly enough. The 2020 campaign is looking like a bloodbath.

Tax returns? Are they about to surface — finally?

Donald J. Trump’s mysterious tax returns might be about to see the light of day. Finally!

More than two years ago the one-time real estate mogul and reality TV celebrity announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. He then declined to do what other major-party candidates had done since 1976, which is release their personal income tax returns for public scrutiny.

Trump cited a “routine” tax audit. The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t comment on specific audits, but it said immediately that an audit doesn’t preclude release of returns.

That didn’t persuade Trump to do the right thing. He has kept ’em out of public view.

Now comes the House of Representatives with its new Democratic majority. The House Ways and Means Committee appears primed to get those returns, hold hearings and then will seek to release them. The president is likely to fight that effort — even though he says he has nothing to hide!

Wow! What do you think about that?

Republicans suggest Democrats are applying a double standard, that they aren’t demanding it of over presidential candidates. Others, though, have released those returns. Only the president has declined to follow a 40-plus-year political custom.

Think for just a moment:

  • Does a “routine” tax audit drag on for years? No. It doesn’t.
  • Has the president ever produced a letter from the IRS notifying him of an audit? I haven’t seen it. Have you?
  • If the president says there’s nothing to hide, no wrongdoing to be discovered, why doesn’t he release them? Well, I believe he is lying.

That leaves us with his tax returns still in hiding.

The House Ways and Means Committee says it is seeking the tax returns simply for “oversight” purposes, that it isn’t motivated by any “gotcha” effort. Whatever the motives, it is important — for the sake of the transparency that Trump advocates — for the public to see precisely how the nation’s top elected official has earned his fortune.

The president calls it “harassment.” He blames Democrats for conducting a witch hunt. He insists he has done nothing wrong, just as he said that there’s no evidence of “collusion” with Russian election thieves. His behavior and bullying of special counsel Robert Mueller III suggest something quite different.

I remain one of those nosy-Nora Americans who has every right to insist on seeing how the president of the United States has earned his fortune, whether he has followed the letter of the law.

Let us remember this critical point: The president works for us. We are the bosses. Not him.

Teleprompter Trump vs. Twitter Trump

I read a headline today that wondered which version of Donald Trump we’re going to see Tuesday when he stands before a joint congressional session to deliver a State of the Union speech.

Will it be Teleprompter Trump or Twitter Trump?

Oh, brother. Neither version of the president of the United States is particularly appealing to me. Then again, I’m a critic of the president, so he’s got a huge mountain to climb to swing me to his side of the great political divide.

Teleprompter Trump seeks to sound presidential. However, he’s not very good at it. I watch Teleprompter Trump deliver remarks while reading prepared text and I get the feeling I am watching someone who doesn’t believe a single word he is saying. He speaks as if he’s being held hostage. His message sounds like one of those phony confessions one’s captors force a prisoner to make.

Teleprompter Trump is insincere. I don’t believe him when he speaks to us in that fashion. For that matter, I don’t believe anything he says at any time, under any circumstance. Scratch that notion. He is particularly unbelievable when he’s reading from a device that rolls prepared text in front of him.

Twitter Trump is another sort of creature altogether. This is the version of the Donald Trump that speaks from what passes for his heart, or his brain, or whatever source that produces those incoherent ramblings.

Twitter Trump is what we see at those political rallies. We saw that version of Donald Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. He has showed up repeatedly while serving as president. He wails and whines about the “witch hunt,” or the “hoax.” He throws out those goofy and nonsensical nicknames/epithets he hangs on his political adversaries.

If Teleprompter Trump falls short of sounding presidential, Twitter Trump makes no attempt at delivering high-minded rhetoric. Twitter Trump makes me cringe. He embarrasses me, even though I take no responsibility for his winning the 2016 presidential election.

Which of them will show up on Capitol Hill to deliver the SOTU? It doesn’t matter to me. I guess I just consider it a bit of a back story to a larger drama that continues to play out — with a potentially tragic ending yet to come.

Mueller probe causing some heartburn

Robert S. Mueller III is giving me a case of heartburn.

The length of this probe is giving me the willies about its future.

Mueller’s probe into The Russia Thing needs to conclude. I hope it happens soon. My fear is that the longer it goes the greater the chance that Donald J. Trump will do something so profoundly stupid that he will hurl the nation into the mother of constitutional crises.

What would the president do? He might order the Department of Justice to fire Mueller. Sure, he keeps pledging — sort of — to let Mueller finish his job. However, I trust the president only as far as I can throw a 239-pound individual.

My heartburn worsens when I consider that I also want Mueller to be as thorough as humanly possible before he wraps it up. He has obtained 37 indictments and guilty pleas already. Some of those indictments include the president’s closest campaign aides and key White House staffers. The latest indictment of Trump confidant Roger Stone is providing an sideshow that would make P.T. Barnum proud.

Yes, I want Mueller to pick through the evidence he has collected already into alleged “collusion” with Russians who attacked our electoral system. I want him to pore over every single bit of it.

Time, though, is not Mueller’s ally. A new attorney general, William Barr, is likely to be approved by the U.S. Senate. I hope that confirmation comes soon so that Barr — a former AG during the Bush 41 administration — can take command; he then can push the Trump sycophant, acting AG Matthew Whitaker, out of the way.

But on another level, I want this probe to end so we can move on to the next thing, which is to digest its findings, or at least those findings that Mueller deigns to release to the public. My strongest hope is that Mueller releases virtually all of it, keeping only that information that contains national security information away from public view.

I want it concluded. But not in a hurry-up fashion. I also want the president to keep his hands off of Mueller’s work and I also want Mueller to finish every little detail of this exhaustive work.

Pass the Pepto . . .

Don’t believe what you see and hear!

Donald Trump thinks he governs a nation of rubes, boobs and goofs.

Why in the world would he tell the nation that the video it saw and the audio it heard of intelligence chiefs disputing the president’s assertions about national security threats were doctored, made up, taken out of context?

Their U.S. Senate committee testimony was “totally misquoted” he said by the media that are in the business of conveying “fake news.”

According to The Huffington Post: “Now the president contends that was not their testimony. “They said that they were totally misquoted . . . it was taken out of context. . . . They said it was fake news,” he said Thursday. He encouraged reporters to “call them.”

Huh? What the . . . ?

What in the world is this individual thinking, smoking or ingesting?

CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray and DNI Dan Coats all said the same thing: Donald Trump is wrong by saying ISIS is defeated, that North Korea is no longer a nuke threat and that Russia isn’t involved in attacking our electoral system.

I heard ’em say it, Mr. President. I heard ’em with my own ears and saw ’em with own eyes.

I believe our intelligence chiefs. Not you!

Mueller is a pro and he is doing his job well

Robert S. Mueller III doesn’t need a chump blogger such as me out here in the middle of Donald Trump Country to defend him.

I will do so anyway.

The president of the United States and his allies have squawked themselves hoarse — in a manner of speaking — while denigrating the work that Mueller has done in pursuing the truth related to “The Russia Thing.”

Trump calls Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt,” he calls it “rigged,” and asserts that Mueller has found zero evidence of “collusion” between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system.

I am forced to wonder aloud: How does someone pile up 37 indictments and guilty pleas while conducting a “witch hunt”?

Back when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein selected Mueller — a former FBI director and a crack prosecutor — to lead the investigation. Mueller’s appointment was greeted in the moment by partisans on both sides of the aisle with universal acclaim. Politicians called it an inspired choice and were delighted that Mueller accepted the challenge of getting to the root of the Russia matter.

Then he began sniffing out Donald Trump’s closest aides and campaign advisers. Suddenly Mueller’s name became mud in the eyes of Republicans. Donald Trump has been relentless in his haranguing of Mueller via Twitter.

I continue to believe that this decorated Vietnam War combat veteran, a former U.S. Marine, is the man who partisans hailed when the Justice Department named him special prosecutor.

Having said that, do I want this probe to end soon? Yes! I do! I want Mueller to wrap it up. However, I want him to finish his task without interference from the DOJ, or from William Barr, who’s been nominated by Trump to be the next AG to succeed Jeff Sessions. I have faith that Barr will honor his pledge to let Mueller finish his task under his own power and on his own terms.

I’ll just make one request — yet again — of the special counsel: Release as much as he possibly can of what he finds to the public. We are spending a lot of public money on this probe and the public deserves the chance to see if this money is worth the investment we have made in the pursuit of the truth.

Great! Another zillionaire wants to be POTUS!

This is just great, I tell ya . . . just great!

Americans have been subjected to the chaos associated with a real estate mogul turned politician who was elected president of the United States in 2016.

Now we hear that another business tycoon might decide to make a run for the nation’s highest office in 2020.

Please! No! A million times no!

The latest novice pol who wants a shot at playing the role of commander in chief and head of state is Howard Schultz, the former owner of Starbucks. He calls himself a “centrist independent” and a “lifelong Democrat.” Schultz told “60 Minutes” he would run as an independent candidate.

Let’s see. How would that work? He could siphon off votes that would go toward an actual political figure running as a Democrat opponent against Donald J. Trump. Is there a chance a Schultz candidacy could improve the president’s re-election chances? Yeah! Do ya think?

Trump campaigned for president touting (falsely it likely turned out) his past as a “self-made billionaire.” He touted his business acumen, forgetting to mention all those bankruptcies, lawsuits and failed business ventures. He had zero political or government or public service experience before deciding to run for POTUS . . . and oh brother, it shows!

Howard Schultz wants a crack at the world’s toughest job?

Give me a break.

I want someone who actually knows how government works to serve as my president. I want someone who isn’t in love with his own success and who is fully and wholly committed to public service.

Schultz is planning a national tour to pitch his notion of running for president. Good grief. Spare me the platitudes and promises.

I want someone sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office who has an understanding of what’s at stake. Trump isn’t the guy. Neither is Schultz.

Oh, and check out Trump’s response to Schultz’s possible candidacy. He wrote this on Twitter: Howard Schultz doesn’t have the “guts” to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the “smartest person.” Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!

Yep. That’s the president of the United States of America.

Isn’t he just so damn dignified?