Tag Archives: 2020 election

Self-awareness, Mr. POTUS … self-awareness

There he goes again, spouting nonsense without a semblance of self-awareness.

Donald “Braggart in Chief” Trump is now criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders because his tax returns reveal he is — gasp! — a millionaire. Sanders is one of a few dozen Democrats running for president. He had declined to release his tax returns until now. He has done so and we are now hearing that the champion of “income equality” is worth a good bit of dough in his own right. But . . . that’s another story for another time.

What is astonishing yet again is that Trump would dare mock someone who has done the very thing many millions of Americans are demanding of the president: release his tax returns.

Then again he launched into his requisite nicknaming of foes, saying in this Twitter message: “I believe it will be Crazy Bernie Sanders vs. Sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best Economy in the history of our Country (and MANY other great things)! I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God Rest Their Soul!”

That final sentence needs some examination too, but perhaps at a later date.

Still, the president is being engulfed by his own phony sense of self-worth — politically and perhaps financially. Given that he brags incessantly about his filthy rich he is, we are being asked to take him at his word, that he really is as wealthy as he claims to be.

Sure thing, Mr. President. You’re such a trustworthy individual. We can believe everything you say. Is that right? No. It isn’t!

Release your tax returns so we can judge for ourselves.

As for his criticism of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wealth . . . I am laughing my a** off.

Trump throws lunches with Pence aside

This shouldn’t be a big story, but it kind of is a big one.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence aren’t eating lunch together these days. The president has decided to ditch his “intimate” lunches with the vice president. He is sending aides to break bread with the VP.

What does this portend? It’s anyone’s guess, given the mercurial, unpredictable, whim-whipped decision-making that drives the president.

I am left to wonder: Is the president so angry with the VP that he’s going to toss him over when he runs for re-election in 2020?

The report of Trump and Pence no longer breaking bread comes from The Atlantic, which reports that Trump was miffed that Pence endorsed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz prior to the Indiana Republican presidential primary in 2016. The Atlantic also reports that Trump chided Pence in 2017 about the endorsement Trump received from former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. “I won the primary and now look where you are, Mike,” Trump supposedly told the VP.

Well, so much for the fealty that Pence has exhibited while standing by his man, the president.

I don’t know yet where this will go. Nor do I know whether it portends yet another big political shakeup within the Trump administration. Trump has demonstrated quite a propensity for shaking things up. He has tossed aside the Homeland Security chain of command. Trump has yet to name permanent replacements at several key Cabinet and senior advisory posts.

Now it’s the vice president — the next in line for the Big Chair — who might be tossed aside for someone else?

If we play that scenario out, I am baffled as to how Donald Trump could have found a more loyal foot soldier than Mike Pence. He demands loyalty. In Pence, he has gotten what he has demanded . . . and then some!

These private POTUS-VPOTUS lunches have become a staple of many previous administrations. President Obama and Vice President Biden met regularly; so did President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Yes, others at the top of the chain of command have met regularly.

To my admittedly distant vantage point, I just haven’t picked up on the body language exhibited by many previous presidents and vice presidents. Let’s face it: Pence is the straightest arrow in the quiver; Trump is, well, let’s just say he has behaved badly for damn near his entire adult life.

I guess that is why news of the end of the Trump-Pence lunches is a big deal. It might become a huge deal.

Waiting for the right candidate to challenge Trump

I do not yet have a favorite candidate I want to challenge Donald John Trump in the next presidential election. I am waiting for that candidate to present himself or herself.

I do know this: The president’s unfitness for the office he occupies is becoming more obvious damn near each day he sits behind that big desk in the Oval Office.

This latest gambit of considering whether to set illegal immigrants loose on the streets of “sanctuary cities” to punish congressional Democrats who oppose him on his desire to build The Wall along our southern border is just the latest example.

Donald Trump lies when he doesn’t need to lie. I watch clip after clip of his lying throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and I simply am aghast. I am appalled that he eked out an Electoral College win to become president. I am astonished that his lying didn’t disqualify him at one of countless points along the campaign trail. He lied about seeing and hearing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; he lied about “helping” clear the rubble from Ground Zero after that tragic event; he lied about how he built his company from scratch.

This is the most untrustworthy man ever to hold the office of president.

His personal insults demean the office. He mocks individuals with physical disabilities. He insults individuals’ physical appearance.

Donald Trump foments hate against Muslims, against Latinos, against those seek to enter this country from “sh**hole countries.”

He denigrates others’ contributions to our national life. He infamously disparaged the heroic service during the Vietnam War of the late Sen. John McCain.

This won’t surprise anyone who reads this blog regularly, but my mind was made up about one aspect of the 2020 election the moment it became clear to all of us that Donald Trump would win the 2016 election. There could be no way in this entire galaxy I could support this individual’s re-election.

My task now is to await to see who arises from the thundering horde/herd of candidates seeking to get the nation’s attention.

My statement that my preference would be for someone to arise from the middle — or perhaps the back — of the crowd to establish himself or herself as a frontrunner. I just do not yet know who will step forward.

I want my 2020 presidential vote to be for someone who presents a positive vision for the future of this country. I want it to be in favor of someone who can correct the hideous course on which the Liar in Chief has taken us.

I truly would hate casting my vote only as a statement against the presidency of Donald Trump. I do not want to hold my schnoz while casting my ballot.

However, I am able to do so . . . if that’s what it takes.

Pence vs. Mayor Pete: It’s getting personal

Here we go . . .

The presidential candidacy of an openly gay Midwest medium-sized city mayor is starting to get ugly.

Pete Buttigieg is among the seemingly dozens of Democrats running for president. He has drawn the attention of a fellow Hoosier, Vice President Mike Pence.

Buttigieg has responded to statements that Pence allegedly has made about the mayor’s sexual “preference” by suggesting that the VP’s quarrel shouldn’t be with Buttigieg, but with his “creator.”

I am undecided about who among the Democrats I want to succeed Donald Trump. Buttigieg, though, has gotten my attention of late. He is an interesting young man with a wealth of life experience that needs to be examined.

Feud escalates

I want to point out that he is a Navy veteran. He served honorably while deployed to war zones in the Middle East.

He came out as gay only in 2015. Pence, who was Indiana governor at the time, said that Buttigieg — the mayor of South Bend, Ind. — is a “dedicated public servant and a patriot.”

Now, though, he has taken another view of Buttigieg, I guess.

Buttigieg is emerging from the field of Democrats as a potential contender for the party’s nomination. My hunch is that the vice president won’t be quite so magnanimous when discussing Mayor Pete in the future.

For his part, Buttigieg is pushing back hard on evangelicals’ support of Trump, someone who Buttigieg believes is the very antithesis of the kind of individual who should appeal to strong Christian believers. He says the “hypocrisy is unbelievable,” and adds that Trump’s behavior “is not consistent with anything I hear in scripture in church.”

I once commented on this blog that my preference would be for Democrats to look hard at someone who came out of nowhere, perhaps in the mold of Jimmy Carter. It might be that Pete Buttigieg is that individual.

Time will tell.

How does Trump plan to make his re-election case?

Donald J. Trump is going to ask Americans to re-elect him to another term as president of the United States. I am baffled to the max over this question: How is he going to make the case that he has earned a second term?

Trump got elected in 2016 by demonizing his opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton and by stoking fear of enemies outside of our borders and of those within them. He promised to vanquish them all. He told us that “I, alone” can repair all that ailed the nation.

Well, he hasn’t.

He has been bedeviled by questions concerning his relationships — business, personal and political — with foreign governments. He claims today that he has been “exonerated.” He hasn’t been cleared of anything. That’s another story.

As he ramps up his re-election campaign, Donald Trump is facing a critical question. How is he going to sell himself for another four years in the White House?

I am reminded a bit of the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards, who ran for re-election as governor in 1994 against a political novice, a fellow named George W. Bush. Richards was thought of at the time to be highly popular. She had good — if not great — public approval ratings.

She made a critical error during her first term. She vetoed legislation that would have referred a concealed handgun carry bill to the voters for their endorsement. The veto enraged gun enthusiasts.

More than that, though, Richards hardly spoke of how she would govern during a second term. She spent a lot of public time blasting George W. Bush, calling him a lightweight and a “jerk.” Bush remained focused on his campaign themes.

Bush ended up winning. Richards was gone.

There ought to be a lesson for Trump here. Except that he won’t accept it. He won’t campaign on a second-term vision because, in my view, he doesn’t have one. Heck, he didn’t have a first-term vision, other than banning Muslims from traveling to this country, building The Wall along our southern border and eliminating the Affordable Care Act.

He stoked fear and loathing. He appealed to our darker instincts.

Is he going to brighten his vision for the future? Hah! Hardly! A 70-something-year-old man isn’t likely to change the strategy that won him election to the first public office he ever sought.

In my humble view, these basic tenets remain the same today as they were when Trump rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his presidential candidacy:

  • Donald Trump is unfit at every level imaginable to be president.
  • Trump will continue to be the fear monger in chief.
  • He will continue to lie incessantly.
  • Trump will demonize his opponents in the most venal, disgusting, disgraceful, personal terms.

Donald Trump doesn’t deserve re-election any more than he deserved election in the first place. I intend to do everything within my meager power — through this forum — to make that case.

ACA repeal effort pushed back . . . to what end?

Donald Trump thinks of himself as a master political strategist, the consummate dealmaker, the toughest guy on the block.

Of course, he is none of that.

He is the president of the United States, who also keeps changing strategies, his mind, his goals. He confuses me to no end.

Now he says he wants Congress to withhold plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act until after the 2020 presidential election. This comes after he declared — with the most conviction he could muster — that he wanted it done now. He didn’t have a replacement plan, but he damn sure did promise that the Republican Party would become the “party of health care.” Yep. That’s what he said.

How will that occur? That’s a mystery. To Trump. To congressional Republicans. To the White House staff. To the Department of Health and Human Services.

The strategy du jour is to wait until after the election next year. Trump says the GOP will retake the House of Representatives, strengthen its control of the Senate and, let’s not forget, re-elect him as POTUS.

There you have it. Trump predicts that the GOP will regain total control of two of three co-equal government branches.

But wait! They had that control before. They couldn’t repeal the ACA, let alone come up with a suitable replacement. Why do you suppose that happened?

I think it’s because the ACA has become more popular with Americans, the folks who are the actual “bosses.” It ain’t Congress and it certainly isn’t the White House.

Donald Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Texas might be a battleground? One can hope

Beto O’Rourke’s near-electoral miss in November 2018 has managed to turn Texas from a reliably red, staunchly Republican state into a potential battleground state in the 2020 presidential election.

Maybe . . . that is.

O’Rourke is now running for president of the United States. He damn near was elected to the U.S. Senate this past year. He came within 2 percentage points short of beating Ted Cruz. His close finish energized a once-moribund Texas Democratic Party.

So he decided to parlay that enthusiasm into a national bid.

Now, does his presence amid a gigantic — and still growing — field of Democratic presidential contenders automatically convert Texas into a battleground? Of course not.

He is going to campaign like all hell for Texas convention delegates. If he somehow manages to become the party’s presidential nominee –or even end up on the Democratic ticket as a VP nominee — then the state becomes the site of pitched battle between the two parties.

This is a dream come true for many of us. Me included.

I long have wanted Texas to become a two-party state. Even when Democrats controlled every public office in sight. It shifted dramatically over the past three decades. The GOP has control of every statewide office.

Presidential candidates haven’t given us the time of day. Why bother? The state’s electoral votes are going to the Republicans. So, the GOP has taken us for granted; Democrats have given up on us.

Beto O’Rourke well might have changed all that.

So, we might be in store for a barrage, a torrent, a tidal wave of political ads as we enter the summer and fall of 2020.

Forgive me for saying this, but I would welcome it.

What happens if Trump goes into the gutter against Biden?

I cannot help but wonder about a hypothetical political matchup.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is going to have to answer for a complaint filed publicly by a former Nevada politician who says the ex-VP touched her and kissed her “inappropriately.” He has said he doesn’t “recall” the incident involving Lucy Flores.

Biden also is considering whether to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020. So . . . suppose Joe Biden jumps into the race.

On the other side of the political chasm sits Donald Trump, the Republican president of the United States.

We all know about Trump’s Twitter fetish and how he likes to use that social medium to say some amazingly crude and inappropriate things — at timed!

What might happen if Trump — who has his own, um, admitted sordid history regarding women — decides to dive into the gutter with intemperate tweets about the allegations regarding Biden’s alleged misbehavior?

Not only do we know about Trump’s (over)use of Twitter, we also know about his utter lack of shame and his absolute lack of self-awareness.

I’m just wondering how ugly this next presidential campaign could get. My hunch, if it’s Biden vs. Trump at the end of the parties’ nominating campaigns, it is going to get hideous beyond measure.

Shameless POTUS continues to keep his tax returns secret

I cannot stop shaking my head.

Three Democratic candidates for president — U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — have released their income tax return statements for public review. What’s more, they are daring the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to do the same.

Good luck, senators and Gov. Inslee. It won’t happen. He won’t be shamed into doing what he should have done when he declared his candidacy in June 2015. Why? Because this individual is utterly shameless. He is beyond redemption in the shame department.

He said after riding down the Trump Tower escalator on campaign announcement day that his tax returns were “under audit.” He then said he would release ’em when the audit was complete. He called it “routine.” So, how long does a “routine” audit take? I’m guessing it doesn’t take more than three years!

The plain truth is that Trump never has produced even a perfunctory letter from the Internal Revenue Service informing him of the audit.

Yes, I believe the president of the United States lied about the audit. My strong hunch is that he wasn’t being audited by the IRS and that he used the audit dodge as a pretext to keep his finances hidden from public view.

While I’m thinking about it, Sens. Gillibrand and Harris ought to inform their Senate colleague, Bernie Sanders — another candidate for POTUS — to do the same thing. Sanders’ excuse was equally lame when he declined to release his returns when he ran for president in 2016; he said something about how “boring” they would be. Really? Let us be the judge of that, Sen. Sanders.

We’re going to go through another election cycle with Donald Trump holding fast to his lie about an IRS audit. He won’t release his returns voluntarily. It’s quite possible Congress could force him to do what previous presidents and presidential candidates have done for decades, which is reveal to the public their income sources and how much they paid in taxes to the government they seek to oversee.

Nice try, senators and governor. If only Donald Trump had a sense of honor to do the right thing. He just doesn’t.

Is POTUS launching a re-election effort based on revenge?

Is Donald J. Trump crafting a re-election strategy based on exacting revenge against those who insisted that he colluded with Russians or that he obstructed justice?

What are we to discern from the president’s response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings that (a) the president didn’t collude with Russians and (b) the obstruction of justice allegation remains an open question?

Trump has won a significant victory with Mueller’s conclusion that his campaign team did not conspire to collude with Russians who had invaded our electoral system in 2016. He should be grateful for Mueller’s service, dust himself off and get back to governing . . . isn’t that right?

I guess not! He is enraged at his foes. Of course he includes the media among those he intends to inflict retribution.

The media reported the special counsel’s arduous trek through the morass that lay before him. The media did their job. The so-called “fake news” constituted all the information that Trump and his team saw as negative. So . . . fu***** what? That goes with the territory. It goes with the job of becoming leader of the world’s most powerful and influential nation.

So now the president, who should be crafting a message of what he intends to do in a second term as president, appears to be spending an inordinate amount of effort looking for ways to stick it to his foes.

He’s already in full re-election campaign mode. That’s been obvious for some time. Yes, he deserves to have his message heard. I just am becoming more baffled by what the message is going to tell us.

In the immediate aftermath of the special counsel concluding his investigation into The Russia Thing, I am believing the president is much more intent on revenge than on governance.