Tag Archives: 2016 election

Democrats made up ‘Russia’ because they lost?

That darn Donald J. Trump cannot accept with any sort of grace that he won an election. He keeps telling Democrats that they lost it and keep rubbing their face in it.

Now the president of the United States is telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Democrats concocted the “Russia thing” controversy because they lost the 2016 election. They can’t take losing, he said.

Holy moly, man! I’ve heard of sore losers. I don’t think I’m one of those, just because my presidential candidate lost the 2016 election.

Rarely have I seen as sore a winner as the man who won the election.

Do I need to remind the president of a fact or two about “the Russia thing”? Yes, I believe I do.

First of all, intelligence professionals have concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. They comprise individuals who belong to the Republican Party as well as the Democratic Party. There really is no dispute that the Russians sought to influence the election’s outcome.

Second, I don’t believe that whatever the Russians did — planted phony stories intended to put Hillary Clinton in a negative light, for instance — was ultimately decisive. I do believe Trump would have won anyway.

The fundamental point, though, is that the Russians did meddle in our electoral process. They sought to undermine our free and fair election. The Russians did it!

It isn’t a made-up story. It’s no Democratic Party conspiracy.

The president won the election. He ought to shut his pie hole and accept his victory with a modicum of grace.

Why ‘fight’ Mueller if there’s nothing there?

Donald John Trump’s friends and advisers are encouraging him to fight special counsel Robert Mueller.

The special counsel is up to his eyeballs in investigating a whole array of issues involving the 2016 presidential election. They involve whether Russia sought to meddle in our electoral process; they also involve questions into whether the president’s campaign colluded with Russian government agents in seeking to sway the election. There also are questions about Trump’s financial dealings in Russia and with Russians.

The president says it’s all “fake news” concocted by his political enemies. He keeps denying anything happened. There was “no collusion,” he says.

So, why fight the special counsel? Why not just let Mueller do his job and then produce, um, nothing!

If Donald Trump is as pure as he keeps suggesting he is, then he would welcome a thorough investigation … wouldn’t he? If he is innocent of all those “fake news”-inspired allegations, then it stands to reason that he would endorse Mueller’s findings that there’s nothing there.

That’s right, isn’t it?

Except that Trump keeps acting like he’s got something to hide. Those tax returns still aren’t known to the public. He keeps changing his story. He actually has acknowledged publicly that he fired former FBI Director James Comey over “the Russia thing.”

Is this a “hoax,” as you say, Mr. President? If it is, then ignore those advisers who are telling you to fight.

Anthony Weiner … once more

So help me, I don’t know why I’m even remotely interested in Anthony Weiner.

But I am. Remotely interested, that is.

The former loudmouth New York Democratic congressman is facing a 21-month prison sentence for knowingly sending sexually explicit text messages to an underage girl.

This clown has destroyed his marriage to a brilliant political operative. He has shredded his own political career. He has made a mockery of himself and disgraced the New York congressional district voters who placed their trust in him to obey the law. Of the consequences mentioned here, I suppose the only one that gives me a mild case of regret is constituent trust he destroyed because of his shameful conduct.

Weiner is going to appeal his sentence. He ought to be thankful that’s all he got from the federal judge, Denise Cote. He could have faced a longer prison term. He’s also going to serve a three-year probationary period.

Here is now National Public Radio reported his sentencing.

Weiner made a bit of a national name for himself initially because he was such a gasbag while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. There was a particularly bizarre moment on the House floor when congress members were debating the cost of health care for first responders. Weiner exploded in anger that some Republicans opposed spending the amount of money that Weiner wanted spent.

This guy’s “sexting” escapades eventually became part of the story involving his wife and her work with the Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Whatever. He’s gone to trail. He’s been convicted. The judge has sentenced him to nearly two years in a federal lockup.

Please … now. Just go away.

Still struggling with ‘President’ and ‘Trump’

I fear I am entering a critical phase of my commentary on the president of the United States.

Some months ago, I declared in this blog that I couldn’t write the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively. It’s not that I disrespect the office; it’s because I disrespect the individual who occupies it.

I thought I might get over that resistance the farther along we progressed into the Trump administration. My concern now is different. It’s that the farther along we go into the president’s term, the more difficult it is going to be for me to use those two terms consecutively.

Let me stipulate once again that it has nothing at all to do with my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. I have had no trouble referring to President Nixon, President Ford, President Reagan, President Bush (41) and President Bush (43) — despite never having voted for any of them.

They all conducted themselves appropriately while holding their exalted office. They all knew how to act and talk like the head of state and head of government. They all brought public service credentials to their job. Except for President Nixon, none of them disgraced the office the way the current president has done.

But you see, even though Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace after covering up the Watergate break-in, I still am able to refer to him by putting the word “President” directly in front of his name.

A critic of this blog has challenged me to refer to Donald Trump in that manner. I’ll have to respectfully decline that challenge.

My concern now is that I might never do what I concede is the correct thing to do.

Trump keeps saying inappropriate things in equally inappropriate settings. He keeps launching those Twitter tirades. He continues to hurl personal insults at his domestic political foes. Trump keeps up the drumbeat of disparaging nicknames he attaches on those who disagree with him.

He has yet to apologize for the many hideous statements he has made about: John McCain, the Gold Star family that criticized him this past summer, the disabled New York Times reporter, Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, or the many lies he has told about any number of incidents he purported to have witnessed.

A man who cannot conduct himself like a president doesn’t deserve to be called one.

I’ve struggled with trying to decide whether to put the word “President” in front of Trump’s name. I wish I could report that I’m closer to taking that leap … but I can’t go there.

Collusion with Russians = treason?

This investigation into whether Donald J. Trump’s presidential colluded with Russian election hackers is as serious as it gets.

I mean, we’re talking essentially about an of act of treason … potentially, allegedly.

I’ve referred to it as “the Russia thing,” which is what the president called it in an interview not long after he fired FBI Director James Comey. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of what special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to ferret out.

Quite obviously, I have no inside knowledge of what Mueller is looking at or what he might find. I simply read the news like everyone else and am able to draw some conclusions from what I read and hear.

Virtually no one disputes that Russians meddled in our 2016 presidential election. Intelligence analysts say it happened; they say the Russians acted singularly. The only important person who doubts what the spooks have affirmed is the president of the United States. He keeps equivocating.

This is an important matter on many levels. It exposes the vulnerability of our electoral process to foreign interference. The Russians are (a) very good at this sort of Internet sabotage and (b) they remain our most formidable international adversary.

Trump keeps saying he wants to cultivate relations with Russia. How does he do that when the Russians are not to be trusted at any level to keep their word on anything?

The election meddling by itself is bad enough. Any notion that a presidential campaign worked in tandem with a foreign adversary to have a demonstrable impact on our election goes straight to the heart of protecting our nation’s interests against governments that seek to do us harm.

Mueller’s investigation is going to take time, as it should. There can be no rush to judgment on something so intensely important as this. The Mueller probe has many avenues down which it must go.

It must determine whether Donald Trump Jr. actually sought to receive dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Rodham Clinton; it must learn whether Trump Sr.’s firing of Comey constitutes an obstruction of justice; it must learn whether the Trump campaign actually greased the Russians’ path that enabled them to meddle in our sacred electoral process.

And none of that includes any possible financial connection between the president’s business empire and the Russians — which he has denied. Oh, but then again, are we supposed to believe the president’s assertion that he has no business deals in Russia?

The No. 1 issue on the table must be whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and a foreign power. If the special counsel delivers a formal complaint that it occurred, well, ladies and gentlemen … then we’ve got a serious constitutional crisis on our hands.

Trump defies political gravity

I found a blog post I wrote not quite a year ago, just prior to the 2016 presidential election.

I’ll get this off my chest right up front: I was dead wrong about Donald John Trump Sr.’s political fortunes when I posted the item.

Here it is:

Trump is committing political suicide

There. I’ve admitted once again. Trump defied conventional political expectations.

I want to mention this earlier item as a cautionary tale about any effort to predict what might happen to the president — even as a special counsel seemingly tightens a noose around the Trump campaign’s alleged connections with a Russian government effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

I keep hearing reports about how special counsel Robert Mueller and his crack team of prosecutors are looking ever more closely at key White House aides’ involvement in dealings with Russia. They’re poring through mountains of statements and public testimony from Trump, his closest aides, even members of his family. They’re seeking to determine the truth behind Trump’s involvement with the Russian goons who hacked into our electoral process.

The president keeps bobbing and weaving. He keeps changing his story. He keeps doing what appears to be everything he can to self-incriminate himself.

Does this doom his presidency? Hah!

If the rules of conventional wisdom applied to this clown, he would have imploded long ago. The denigrating of John McCain’s heroic service during the Vietnam War; the disparaging of a Gold Star family; his admission of groping women; his mocking of a disabled reporter; his repeated insults and innuendo; his defaming of Barack Obama over the former president’s constitutional eligibility to serve as president. His incessant lying — about anything!

Any one of those incidents should have doomed this man. That he survived all of them is utterly astonishing in the extreme.

Critics of this blog are fond of reminding me how wrong I was about Trump’s candidacy. They’re entitled to keep reminding me of something I’ve acknowledged readily since this guy’s election. I take a small measure of solace in the knowledge that many other Trump critics were just as wrong. 

I offer this observation as a warning to anyone who’s ready — yet again — to consign this president to the ash heap.

‘No’ on Hillary in ’20, but not a single regret over voting for her

I feel the need to clarify something I wrote about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book and my desire for her to end her public service career.

My strong sense is that the Democratic Party needs someone new, someone not on most of our radar screens, a fresh outlook and approach to public policy problem-solving.

Hillary Clinton needs to step aside.

That said, I want to restate with absolute clarity that I have zero regrets — not one, none — over supporting her candidacy in 2016. I would do so again and again and again — if the opponent were the same person who beat her. Hillary Clinton presented by far the clearest choice I had seen since I cast my first vote for the presidency in 1972.

I wrestled not one instant over whether I should cast my vote for Clinton over Donald John Trump Sr. My pro-Trump friends are entitled to stand my their man and I accept that they believe he’s the best thing to happen to American politics since pockets on shirts. I simply do not agree with them.

Was Hillary Clinton the perfect candidate for president in 2016? No. But compared to the man who stunned her — and many of the rest of us — she looks pretty damn perfect.

Congressional committees tried to pin “Benghazi” on her; they came up empty. The FBI looked for criminality in her handling of the e-mail matter; it, too, came up empty. Gossip mongers kept up the steady drumbeat of malicious rumors that were outright lies.

She worked beside her husband, Bill, while he served as a multi-term Arkansas governor; she served with honor as first lady of the United States; she learned how to legislate as a U.S. senator from New York; she represented U.S. diplomatic interests with competence and skill as secretary of state.

Trump brought zero public service experience to the job as president. I will remain baffled and mortified arguably for the rest of my life over just how this clown ever got elected to this most exalted, highly revered office.

Hillary Clinton’s time, though, has passed. She fired all her weapons in 2016 and missed the target. Trump beat her fairly and squarely where it counted: in the Electoral College. That’s how the U.S. Constitution sets forth how we elect presidents and I accept the 2016 outcome — even through gritted teeth.

Her book “What Happened” lays out her version of what went wrong in her supposedly inevitable march into the Oval Office.

From my way of thinking about it now, eight months after Trump’s inaugural, it all boils down to this basic truth: Hillary Clinton just didn’t wear well with those who wanted a radical change in direction in the White House.

And oh brother … did they get it.

I wish the outcome had been different. It’s time for Democrats to look deeply within themselves for an antidote to the absolute chaos that’s become the hallmark of governance in the world’s greatest nation.

It’s not going to be Hillary.

Hoping that Hillary calls it a career

Hillary Rodham Clinton is beginning to resurface.

Her book is out, the one that “explains” why she lost a presidential election she should have won. I’ll stipulate that I haven’t read “What Happened.” I have every intention of doing so. I’m curious as to what this candidate who should have been elected in 2016 says about her stunning election loss.

I’ll simply fall back to a position I took not long after Donald J. Trump got elected president of the United States.

My hope for the Democratic Party is that they find a fresh face, a novice to the national political stage, a rookie to run against whomever the Republicans nominate for president in 2020.

It shouldn’t be Hillary Clinton. And if the Republican Party honchos were to ask for my opinion, I’d say they shouldn’t renominate the incumbent president. Hey, I just told ’em that very thing. Imagine that!

Hillary will lay a lot of blame on FBI Director James Comey and his strange reopening of the e-mail probe late in the campaign. She’ll blame the Russians for hacking into our electoral system. She will blame the media for the way they covered her campaign. Sure, she also is going to take a lot of the blame herself.

From where I sit out here in Flyover Country, it’s that last element that deserves the bulk of the cause for her stunning loss.

Clinton was a lousy candidate. She spent too much time down the stretch in states she had no prayer of winning and too little time in those battleground states that flipped from supporting Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to backing Trump.

Yes, I also believe in that malady called Clinton Fatigue. We had two terms of her husband, President Bill Clinton; and along the way, we got a big dose of first lady Hillary Clinton, too. Do you recall when candidate Bill told us in 1992 if we elect him, we’d get her as well in a sort of two-for-one deal?

She ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000 as she and her husband were to leave the White House and she served her new home state of New York with competence and some level of distinction.

She challenged Sen. Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and took him to the wire. The new president’s payback was to appoint her secretary of state, a post she held for Obama’s first term.

Clinton won the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination believing the election was hers for the taking. She wasn’t alone. I was among the millions of pseudo-experts who thought she’d win in a record-setting landslide. I’ve been eating crow ever since.

Her time has come and gone. She’s yesterday’s heroine.

I do not want her to run again. She had my support once already. I’m not sure I can back her a second time.

Her book is likely to produce some interesting reading. That is it. However, the future of her political party, I believe, belongs to someone who’s going to emerge from nowhere.

Putin, Russians can declare: Mission Accomplished

If Vladimir Putin were so inclined, I might expect to see the Russian president unfurl a banner in Red Square that reads, in Russian of course, “Mission Accomplished.”

The Russians meddled in our 2016 election. They sought to influence its outcome. They attacked our electoral process. They declared a form of war against our democratic process.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded as much. I believe them. The winner of the 2016 presidential election, Donald John Trump, has yet to draw that conclusion.

Oh, no. Instead, he has disparaged our intelligence apparatus. He has sought to deflect criticism of the Russians through equivocation, saying that “it could be anybody” who meddled in our election.

Now, do I believe the Russians actually swung the election in Trump’s favor? Do I believe their meddling, by itself, resulted in a Trump victory? No. I believe the president defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton legally. I also believe Clinton made too many fatal mistakes down the stretch to salvage a campaign that she should have socked away long before Election Day.

But you see, the Russians have succeeded famously. They have thrown the U.S. political discussion into near hysteria. Accordingly, they have accomplished one of their primary missions, which is to cast doubt on our electoral process.

We’ve got congressional committees examining the interference. The FBI is examining it, too. The president fired former FBI Director James Comey over the “Russia thing,” and the Justice Department has appointed a first-rate special counsel, Robert Mueller, to conduct an independent probe of that Russia matter.

There might be indictments forthcoming. The president himself might find himself in a world of political hurt. Trump has been so consumed by this investigation that he cannot take the time he needs to fill critical spots within the nation’s executive government branch.

I cannot predict how all these investigations will conclude. I feel fairly confident in suggesting that no matter the outcome, that Vladimir Putin has succeeded wildly in undermining the electoral process of the world’s remaining superpower.

Trump-Putin ‘bromance’ renews

What in the world gives with Donald Trump?

He took the floor today at the White House for a brief press encounter with the president of Finland. He took questions from reporters gathered in front of the two leaders.

One of them asked, “Does Russia pose a national security threat” to the United States.

The president’s response boggles the mind.

He said “a lot of nations” pose threats to our security. Not Russia, which was the precise subject of the reporter’s question.

“A lot of nations … “

This kind of obfuscation and thinly veiled verbal trickery is maddening in the extreme. Although it shouldn’t surprise any of us these days.

The president has continually refused to:

* Criticize the Russians for taking the Crimea back from Ukraine.

* Concur with intelligence agencies that Russia acted alone in trying to influence the 2016 outcome.

* Agree that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a killer.

He keeps soft-shoeing around the obvious assertions by almost everyone else in Washington that Putin is a real bad dude and that he governs a country that poses a serious threat to this nation’s security.

He keeps yammering about the need to craft better bilateral relations.

It’s seemingly obvious, though, that the Russians do threaten us. It’s also obvious that they launched an attack on our electoral process.

When is the president of the United States going to own up what has become patently obvious to the nation he was elected to lead?