Tag Archives: 2016 election

Keep it civil, Hillary

I have been on a mission quest for more political civility. It won’t end any time soon. I now want to issue some advice to a woman who should have won the 2016 presidential election, but who got the surprise of her political life.

Hillary Rodham Clinton needs an attitude check.

Clinton has told interviewers the time for civil public debate will occur when and if Democrats win control of Congress after next month’s midterm election. Until then? All bets are off, she says.

Republicans only understand “strength,” she said. She said Democrats cannot deal with a political party that won’t adhere to a code of civil discourse and debate.

The only option, according to the World of Hillary, is to take the fight straight to the GOP. Hit them as hard as they hit you, she said.

C’mon, Mme. Secretary/former senator/former first lady! 

That kind of attitude only begets more anger. It is unbecoming of someone who had my vote in 2016. Just for the record, I don’t regret for one second — or an instant! — casting my presidential vote for Hillary Clinton.

My hope is that we can return sooner rather than later to a time when Democrats and Republicans can work together, rather than at cross purposes. I want a return to an era when Republican lawmakers, such as the late Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois, locked arms with Democratic presidents, such as the late Lyndon Johnson. Or when Democratic lawmakers, such as the late Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, did the same with Republican presidents, such as George W. Bush.

Dirksen and Johnson helped forge the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts; Kennedy and Bush helped formulate sweeping education reform.

These days, the two sides lob grenades at each other from a distance. That is not in the interest of good government.

I remain a bit of an idealist on this, but I believe one of the political parties can set the example for the other one to follow. If Hillary is right, that the GOP only understands “strength,” the remedy could be to show the other side an ability and willingness to bridge the great divide.

Just remember: Trump actually won in 2016

It is useful to put a few things in perspective as we watch the 2018 midterm election campaign reach its merciful conclusion.

The “Blue Wave” that everyone is saying will happen well might develop. A lot of Republican-held seats in the House of Representatives are going to flip to Democratic control. I am willing to buy into that notion. What I am not yet certain about is whether there will be enough of a flip to hand control of the lower chamber to the Democrats.

Yeah, I know. All the pundits, experts, prognosticators and talking heads say the wave will sweep the GOP out of control of the House. Democrats will take the gavel for the first time since 2011, they say.

Sure. I hope so. I do not like the direction that Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans are taking the country. I want at least one congressional chamber to belong to the other party.

The Senate remains even more iffy for Democrats.

I had some hope that Beto O’Rourke was going to win a Senate seat in Texas from Ted Cruz. My throbbing trick knee tells me it ain’t gonna happen. It’ll be close, or so they say. I’m not predicting anything, mind you. My predicting days are over. They should have ended long before the 2016 presidential election.

Which brings me to the final point.

Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 upset all the predictors’ expectations. How in the name of Electoral College victory he did it remains a bit of a mystery to me. I do recognize that he tapped into some wellspring of resentment that had been gathering in voters’ hearts. He talked their language. He spoke directly to them.

Not to me. I am just a single voter sitting out here in Flyover Country/Trump Land.

But I am going to recognize that for a first-time politician — remember that Trump never campaigned for a single public office before seeking the presidency — Trump is beginning to master the art of revving up his base. Moreover, he has hijacked the heart and soul of a once-great political party and turned it into something no one recognizes as the actual Republican Party.

It’s a sickening development. However, it’s real. And it gives me pause as the midterm campaign staggers to its finish.

I am hoping for the best. I won’t fear for the worst. I just believe the country might have to settle for something in between. What should be a Democratic tsunami could become something less formidable.

Why? Because the Republicans are led by a demagogue who has persuaded them that it’s somehow OK to have a president who doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

Trump adviser: Don’t listen to ‘experts’ Blue Wave prediction

It’s not every day that you’ll read words of agreement from High Plains Blogger regarding senior Donald Trump administration adviser Kellyanne Conway.

However, she makes an important point. The same “experts” who are predicting a “Blue Wave” in this  year’s midterm election also predicted a Hillary Clinton landslide victory in 2016. Conway, who was Trump’s presidential campaign manager, reminds us that the election didn’t turn out the way the “experts” predicted it would.

Her message? Don’t listen to the prognosticators because, she says, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

You haven’t heard me predict a Democratic wipeout of Republicans in 2018. I’ve expressed some hope it would happen.

Trump’s victory two years ago caught a lot of observers by complete surprise. I was one of them who was shocked and dismayed by what transpired in November 2016. It also taught me a lesson: Don’t ever in a million years count Donald Trump out when he’s in the middle of a political brawl.

I’m not sure about the size of the Democratic wave that is forming out there. The Brett Kavanaugh hearing about his confirmation to the Supreme Court supposedly galvanized and energized the Trump GOP “base.” It also did the same thing to the Democrats’ base as well.

The question: Which political “base” is more organized as well as being more passionate about who controls Congress?

I suggest we take Kellyanne Conway’s advice to heart and understand that the “experts” who thought Hillary Clinton would win just might be blowing smoke in advance of the midterm election.

Then again … I hope they’re right and Conway is wrong.

You ‘unify’ the country by trashing half of Americans?

Donald Trump is employing a fascinating tactic in his effort to “unify” the nation.

Let’s ponder this for a moment. He is trashing Democrats. He calls them “unhinged.” He says they are “wacko.” Democrats are the “party of crime.” He refers to Democrats as “socialists,” which is the new four-letter word in the Republican Party’s glossary of epithets.

My point? How does one “unify” a nation by trashing roughly half of its voting population? I do not understand this tactic.

I applaud the strategy the president espouses — if only he would set forth in implementing it!

He has been staging campaign rallies on behalf of GOP midterm election candidates. He’s also gearing up for his own re-election campaign in 2020. He staged another rally today, interestingly, while the nation’s attention is riveted on the Florida Panhandle and the savagery brought ashore by Hurricane Michael; you’ll remember that Trump criticized former President Obama for campaigning during earlier natural disasters. But it doesn’t matter to the current president, right?

In doing so, he trashes Americans who happen to adhere to the views put forth by the Democratic Party.

That’s how you unify the nation? That is how you bring people together? That is how you heal the wounds inflicted by the previous presidential election?

No. It isn’t. It’s how you deepen the wounds and peel away the scab. It’s how you foment division, hatred, fear and loathing.

The divider in chief is showing his true self. The man has no interest, let alone no ability, to unify this great nation.

Where is the outrage?

Hang on just a doggone minute … or two!

Donald Trump flew on Air Force One this week with Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They talked at length, reportedly, about this and/or that. Rosenstein at this moment is up to his eyeballs in an investigation involving the president’s 2016 campaign and whether it “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

I’ll now flash back to that election year. Former President Bill Clinton met on an airplane with then-AG Loretta Lynch. They reportedly talked about grandkids and other personal matters. The Justice Department was investigating that e-mail matter involving the ex-president’s wife, Hillary Clinton, who was running for president herself.

Republicans went ballistic. They became apoplectic, accusing the former president of trying to influence the AG. Indeed, the ex-president had no direct say in anything involving the DOJ.

GOP pols didn’t believe him and Loretta Lynch when they said they didn’t discuss anything about the e-mail matter.

Where is the outrage now, with the current president meeting at length with the current deputy AG who is involved in an on-going investigation into the president?

Hypocrisy, anyone?

‘Lies and deception’? Really, Mr. President?

I cannot believe I just heard the president of the United States utter these words.

Donald Trump today opened a White House ceremony welcoming newly minted U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with an apology. He sought to apologize to the justice’s wife and daughters for what he called a campaign of “lies and deception” that led up to Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court.

I promised I wouldn’t talk about the Kavanaugh confirmation process. So, I won’t go there.

I do want to call attention to the campaign of “lies and deception” that Donald Trump himself waged against his Republican primary foes and against Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton while winning the presidency in 2016. The utter gall, the brass, the absolute absence of self-awareness from the president is simply breathtaking.

He sought to implicate Sen. Ted Cruz’s father in President Kennedy’s assassination; he denigrated the service of his GOP foes; he hung hideous “nicknames” on many of them; then he went after Hillary Clinton, leading campaign-rally chants to “lock her up!” even in the absence of any evidence of criminality.

And I haven’t mentioned, until right now, the hideous and unfounded denigration he tossed at all those who oppose him.

To hear, therefore, the president talk about “lies and deception” is laughable on its face.

Except that it’s not funny.

Why worry now about Trump’s business history?

Someone, somewhere — maybe a lot of folks out here in Trump Country, where I live — may be asking: Why are the media obsessing now about Donald Trump’s business practices when he was a much younger man, an up-and-comer in the real estate development industry?

I think I might have an answer. It’s because Donald Trump sold his presidential candidacy largely on the notion that he is a self-made man, that he had a “little bit of help” from his father, Fred Trump, as he sought to build a business empire.

The New York Times has put the lie to that boast. It has revealed in an exhaustive investigation that Trump received a lot of help from his father and that he well might have used fraudulent tax schemes to benefit his father’s business.

Donald Trump’s status as president of the United States of America makes this a legitimate issue of discussion, particularly as he prepares to campaign for re-election in 2020. The issue of his truthfulness in describing his pre-political business career must be brought up and it must be discussed thoroughly.

I doubt seriously that Trump himself will engage in that serious discussion. He’ll toss out insults at the media and his foes. He will energize his base of supporters. The president isn’t likely to provide forthright answers to direct questions about the Times’s story.

However, the president’s business history and the huge disparity between what a media outlet has uncovered and what he has said about that history demand a full and complete airing.

I hope the president would explain himself. My fear is that he won’t.

Mitt was right: Trump is a first-class ‘fraud’

The next U.S. senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, was absolutely spot on when he delivered that blistering speech two years ago about Republican presidential nominee Donald John Trump Sr.

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” in a 17-minute tirade against the man who would become the 45th president of the United States.

I have just read that lengthy New York Times investigative article about how Trump acquired his wealth. It is quite clear, based on some of the most exhaustive reporting I’ve ever seen in a newspaper article, that Trump is the farthest thing possible from a “self-made” billionaire, which is how he presented himself while running for the presidency.

Read the NY Times piece here. Make sure you have a good bit of time to read this piece.

What will happen with this information? Will it change minds? Probably not.

I am an avid Trump critic. This report merely cements my own view of what I and many others have suspected all along about the president, and which comports with Mitt Romney’s view: that the man is a charlatan and a bald-faced liar.

Trump’s “base,” though, will see it differently. They’ll take aim at The New York Times, which they’ll contend is a “mainstream liberal media outlet” that is out to “get” Donald Trump. They will disbelieve the meticulous reporting by a team of journalistic professionals and choose to side with a man known to be a liar.

Such is the state of play on today’s political landscape.

I’ll just declare once again that Mitt Romney had it right in 2016. If only his fellow Republicans would have listened to him.

Don’t fire deputy AG, Mr. President

Rod Rosenstein’s backside might be in a sling as I write this brief blog post.

The deputy U.S. attorney general who hired Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into Donald Trump’s possible Russia dealings is heading to the White House on Thursday to meet with the president.

Rosenstein reportedly said something about wearing a listening device while in the White House and also reportedly asked around about invoking the 25tha Amendment to the Constitution, the one that allows Cabinet officials and Congress to remove the president from office.

Rosenstein denied the reports … sort of. He called them “inaccurate,” which isn’t exactly a denial that he made those statements. Other reports indicate Rosenstein said those things “in jest,” which is how the White House has tried to explain some of the president’s own bizarre statements.

Rosenstein might face the music

If the president fires Rosenstein, then Mueller’s future is in serious question. Does the next deputy AG then fire Mueller, ending the painstaking probe that Mueller has conducted in the search for the truth behind allegations of “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian goons who attacked our electoral system in 2016?

Rosenstein’s selection of Mueller was hailed in the moment as a brilliant move, a stroke of genius. The former FBI director, Mueller, was hailed as a man of impeccable integrity and character. Then he started indicting people close to Trump. Now — suddenly, like magic! — he is called everything but the son of Satan by many within the Trump inner circle. The president has labeled the Mueller investigation “illegal” and a “rigged witch hunt.”

I do not want Trump to fire Rosenstein. He perhaps can chew him out royally, which is within his purview. Then again, so is firing him.

Robert Mueller’s investigation needs to proceed and conclude under its own power. Rod Rosenstein needs to stay on the job until Mueller’s task is complete.

And the president of the United States needs to shut his trap and let this investigation reach its end. If there’s nothing there, as Trump insists, Robert Mueller will tell us. Correct?

‘Hate’ is an ugly four-letter word

A few of the more ardent critics of High Plains Blogger have leveled an accusation at me that cannot go unanswered.

They contend that I “hate” Donald John Trump Sr. They ascribe my so-called “hatred” of the president to the constant drumbeat of criticism this blog levels at him daily … often multiple times each day.

Where do I begin? Let me start with this: The Bible I have read since I was a boy has taught me to avoid hatred of other human beings. Jesus Christ’s teachings in the New Testament are quite clear about that. He tells us to “love” our enemies. Clear? Sure it is!

Donald Trump does engender a lot of intense feelings in my gut. He assumed the presidency after campaigning on multiple themes of insult, innuendo and invective against all his foes, be they the gaggle of Republicans who challenged him in the GOP primary or the Democrat who faced him in the 2016 general election.

The president didn’t run on the basis of some deep-seated political ideology. He lacks a moral foundation. Trump’s entire life prior to his becoming a politician was based on a singular goal: personal enrichment, aggrandizement and adulation.

He has transferred all of that to the White House.

How in the world does one support such a man? How does one follow this individual’s clarion call? I cannot. I do not. I never will.

Does that mean I hate this man? No. It means that I find his presidency to be loathsome on its face, that I detest the manner he has used to treat others and that I find no redeeming personal qualities that can excuse any of that.

I am acutely aware that none of this is going to persuade those High Plains Blogger critics of my actual motivation in criticizing the president. I also am aware they’ll read these few words, laugh out loud and then respond with some push back about how my expressed feelings only are intended to disguise my actual hatred for the man who is our president.

I cannot prevent them from thinking that, nor will I prevent them from expressing it in response to anything I say on this blog. That is their call. They are welcome to express their opinion.

Hatred, though, just isn’t part of how I roll. It might look like it to those who believe that such motivation fuels these comments. Fine. Let ’em believe whatever they want.

There. I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.