Tag Archives: 2020 election

Is she really ready to become POTUS?

I am going to commit political heresy by questioning the qualifications of a woman of color who happens to be on a lot of folks’ short list for the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nomination.

I present to you Stacey Abrams.

Joe Biden has declared he will select a woman to run with him if he becomes the Democrats’ presidential nominee this summer. That’s a done deal. No doubt about it. The former vice president has carved it in stone, signed his name in blood. For all I know he has sworn on a Bible.

I keep seeing Stacey Abrams’ name on short lists for that call.

So, I have looked up her background. I found some fascinating chapters in her life story.

The question that any presidential nominee must ask of a VP selection is this: Is the person I choose qualified to step into the presidency in the event I no longer can serve? Is Stacey Abrams qualified to do that?

She ran for Georgia governor in 2018 and lost by a whisker to Republican Brian Kemp. Prior to that her only political experience was as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. Anything else … politically speaking? Nope. That’s it.

Now, let me be clear. Stacey Abrams is bright and well-educated. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College; she earned a masters degree in public administration from the University of Texas-Austin; and … she earned her law degree from Yale University. She packs plenty of intellectual wattage.

I just wonder whether she has earned a place on Joe Biden’s short list of candidates to be the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee.

The former VP has a gigantic field of competent and highly qualified women he can examine as he looks for a potential running mate. He ran against some of them in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. But there are governors and other members of Congress he can consider.

I am just a bit leery of someone of Stacey Abrams’ limited political experience being thrust into this role of vice-presidential nominee.

She is young enough to gain more valuable experience. Abrams might do well working in a Cabinet-level post in a Biden administration. I just don’t think it’s her time … at least not yet.

Please forgive me.

Trump gets ready to trash Joe Biden

Here it comes … as most of us have expected for a long time.

The Donald J. Trump presidential re-election campaign is beginning to launch salvos against Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic frontrunner for the party’s presidential nomination. Is the aim intended to disparage policy pronouncements? Or take the former vice president and former senator to task for votes?

Heavens no! They’re going to denigrate Biden because he tends to make verbal gaffes, because he occasionally mangles facts.

They’re saying Biden isn’t “playing with a full deck.”

I’m sure you get where this is going. They’re going to question Biden’s mental acuity. His smarts. His cognitive ability.

Joe Biden is 78 years of age; Trump is 73. Trump is going to call himself the “young man” in this head-to-head matchup.

Still, the irony of Donald Trump and his team questioning anyone’s mental fitness for office is ironic in the extreme.

If you can stomach watching a Trump campaign rally, you might understand what I am saying. Trump flies off the Teleprompter script and launches one of those nonsensical, idiotic, moronic, incoherent riffs. He speaks in sentence fragments and, oh by the way, he lies his a** off virtually with every other sentence that flies out of his mouth.

If you want to shudder in disbelief — as I have done repeatedly since January 2017 — that this guy is the president of the United States of America, I encourage you to look it up. Believe me, it’s a hoot!

So, just think of this individual denigrating an opponent who occasionally commits a rhetorical flub. I would laugh, except that it isn’t the least bit funny.

I am proud to stand with someone of Joe Biden’s immense character and capacity for empathy. I also am delighted to oppose vehemently someone of Donald Trump’s absolute lack of both.

Pandemic pushes ‘most important election’ coverage to the back shelf

What in the world happened to the “most important election in our lifetime,” the one that is supposed to energize a nation, jacking up our interest in deciding whether to stay the course or to, shall we say, set a new course?

I know the answer to that question. It’s been pushed aside while the world comes to grips with how to handle a pandemic that has killed thousands of people already and is threatening to change everyone’s life … maybe forever.

Joe Biden has turned the Democratic Party presidential nomination fight into a runaway. He has routed what’s left of a once-huge field of contenders. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard today dropped out of the race; I know, you had forgotten all about her, as did I. The only challenger still standing is U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who I reckon is going to bow out any day now.

No one is talking about it. The media have gone silent. News programming has erupted in a barrage of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic — as it should! We’re worried. We’re unsettled. Cities, counties and states are mandating crowd-size limitations. Mayors, county executives and governors are in front of us constantly, providing updates on what they’re all doing to stem the outbreak of new illness.

Oh, and the president of the United States, Donald John Trump? He’s, um, seeking to repair the rhetorical wreckage he has created by his idiotic pronouncements about the pandemic being a “Democrat hoax” and downplaying the severity of the crisis that is killing people daily.

Enough about him. For the time being.

The pandemic is Topic No. 1, and No. 2 and maybe No. 3 at the moment. That “most important election in our lifetime” will take place in November. The road between here and there, though, is going to take some very weird turns.

We had all better hold on with both hands.

‘No’ on tuition-free college

That ol’ trick knee of mine is telling me something I hope is true, but something I cannot predict will happen.

It’s telling me that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are negotiating an exit from the 2020 Democratic Party primary campaign for Sen. Sanders.

The way this deal might play out is that Sanders might seek to demand certain elements of his campaign end up as part of the Biden campaign going forward. I want to express my extreme displeasure with one element of the Sanders Mantra: the one that seeks to make public college and university education free for every American student.

No can do! Nor should it happen. It’s a budget-buster for the national treasury not to mention for colleges and universities that depend on students’ tuition and assorted lab and book fees to stay afloat.

Former Vice President Biden has broken the Democratic primary for the presidency wide open. The nomination is now his to lose, to borrow the cliché. Sanders, though, isn’t likely to bow out quietly without making some demands on the nominee-to-be.

Sanders isn’t even an actual Democrat; he represents Vermont in the Senate as an independent. He is a “democratic socialist.” To be honest, I don’t quite grasp the “democratic” element in that label as it applies to granting free college education.

The free college plank has been critical to the support Sanders has enjoyed among young voters. How does Biden mine that support for himself? He could call for dramatic restructuring of student loans, making them easier to pay off. I didn’t accrue a lot of student debt while I attended college in the 1970s; I had the GI Bill to help me out. As a parent of college students, though, we were saddled with “parent loans” that took a long time to retire. There must be a better way to structure those loans.

Making public colleges and universities free, though, is a non-starter. Is it a deal-breaker if Joe Biden adopts it as part of his platform? Would that compel me to vote — gulp, snort, gasp! — for Donald Trump? Not a bleeping chance.

The former VP must not be bullied into embracing the free college idea as his own.

Men need not apply for Biden’s VP slot?

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Joseph R. Biden Jr. made some serious news Sunday night.

He did so with a clear, concise and deftly inserted pledge: He said he would name a woman to run with him if he wins the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

There. It’s done. The former vice president effectively eliminated by roughly half the number of candidates he might consider running with him.

That doesn’t mean he’s got a short list. Oh, no! It means only that he has made what sounded to me like an ironclad pledge to select a woman as his running mate. He also seemed to suggest that a woman who debated him on the 2020 primary stage would have an advantage in the selection process.

Whoa! Not so fast, Mr. Vice President.

The nation is chock full of women who could serve today as president. They are governors, former governors, former senators, former House members, in addition to current officeholders. The field is full. I do not want him to limit his choices, even though he’s done so with the remarkable pledge he made on that debate stage with Bernie Sanders.

So … Joe Biden has just made a big splash.

Wow!

Trump sets the table for a new low of campaign viciousness

We all had better get ready for an onslaught of innuendo that is likely to come from Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

Now that Joe Biden appears to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee in waiting, the Trump team appears to be getting set to launch a frontal assault on Biden’s mental health.

Never mind, of course, that Donald Trump himself is the king of gaffes, of lies, misstatements, prevarication. He seems set on focusing on some of the verbal blunders that the former vice president commits on occasion.

As Politico reports, Trump stood before some donors this past week in Florida and talked aloud about some of the mistakes Biden made. So, the battle may be joined.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has said Biden suffers from “dementia.” Fox News blowhards Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have raised similar issues on their TV shows. As for the Biden team, it needs to prepare carefully for how it intends to respond to the idiocy that flies out of Trump’s mouth as well as what comes from his surrogates.

Given that they have so little that is defensible with which they can work to persuade Americans to re-elect Trump, they’ll rely on ways to tear down their opponents. If that reminds you of what they did to Hillary Clinton in 2016, well, it should.

After offering up some examples of Biden’s alleged intellectual slippage, Biden told donors, “I would hope you not repeat that.”

Sure thing, Mr. President. They already have in defense of the most dangerous and ignorant president in our nation’s history.

It is time to judge women and men with the same measuring stick

Elizabeth Warren’s departure from the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary contest has prompted a slew of questions.

Many of them center on this fundamental point: Do we judge women differently than men who seek public office?

My own answer is, regrettably, yes. We do. It needs to stop. How do we cross that line? I haven’t a clue.

Sen. Warren had a boatload of ideas and solutions to problems. She is an excellent campaign debater, as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg learned to his extreme anguish; she peeled the bark off of Bloomberg and then he dropped out after face-planting in the Super Tuesday cascade of primary elections.

She was far from the only fine female candidate for president. None of them made the grade. Not Kamala Harris, or Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar or Tulsi Gabbard (who’s still in the race for reasons no on can seem to figure out). They all come from significant backgrounds; they’re all women of accomplishment.

The media tend to attach different-sounding labels to female candidates than they do to men. A male who’s loud and brash is seen as “aggressive”; a female is described as, oh, let’s see, “brassy.” A male who is tough on campaign staff is called “demanding”; a female is called “overbearing” or “domineering.”

Do you get my drift?

The media and the public need to apply identical standards to women and men. They need to accept the notion that candidates of both genders are equally fit to do the tough jobs required of them in the public office they seek.

Are we going to cross that threshold in my lifetime? Well, I am not so sure, given my advancing age. My sons and my granddaughter stand a much better chance of seeing it happen.

I want desperately to see that day arrive before I check out.

Why should we care what AOC thinks about … anything right now?

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made an appearance last night on late night TV and was asked by her host what she’ll do if Bernie Sanders is not the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States.

I keep circling back to this question: Why does — or should — anyone care what a freshman member of Congress thinks about the status of the primary race for the most powerful and exalted public office in the United States?

AOC wants Sanders to be the next president. Fine. That’s her call.

However, I continue to be amazed beyond all reason as to why she keeps getting the attention she garners.

AOC needs to earn her spurs. She needs to enact some meaningful legislation. She needs to develop a record of accomplishment.

I wish her well. I think she’s got a bright future in politics.

She’s just too damn green to be taken seriously … at this moment!

Political diversity is far from dead

The next Democratic Party presidential nominee is going to be an old white man. One of the two remaining major candidates is 77 years of age; the other one is 78.

The gigantic 2020 Democratic primary field started out as the most diverse in history: five women; three African Americans (one of whom is a woman); an Asian-American businessman; a gay man; a Hindu woman.

We’re now left with the two old white guys: former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

I am all in for Biden. Never mind that … for now.

What’s left now is for one of these fellows to fight it out with each other and the winner to determine with whom he wants to run for the White House.

So much of the chatter has centered on the rivals who’ve dropped out. I want to expand the field of candidates for vice president way beyond building a “team of rivals.”

This much is as clear as anything one can imagine about the 2020 presidential campaign: The Democratic Party ticket is going to include either a woman, a woman or man of color, or possibly a woman of color.

So let’s quell the talk about the “death of diversity,” shall we?

As for the huge pool of potential running mates either for Biden or Sanders, one of these men can look far and wide well beyond the individuals whom they have defeated. Every state in the Union is full of competent, racially diverse individuals — including many women — involved at all levels of government.

I also agree that the once-huge Democratic field is full of competence, charisma and character. So, whomever emerges from the fight that’s about to commence from this day forward until the presidential nomination convention will have a rich field from which he can find a suitable running mate.

However, you can take this straight to the bank: The next Democratic VP nominee will not be an old white guy.

Do these endorsements really matter?

Joseph R. Biden Jr. is a happy man today.

He received a ringing endorsement from a powerful South Carolina politician who said Biden is the best among the Democratic contenders running for president of the United States.

Rep. James Clyburn, a fellow Democrat, is all in with the former vice president. But I have to ask: Will it really matter?

Clyburn is the senior African American member of Congress. He is a fine fellow, from what I have been able to hear. He packs plenty of clout. It remains unclear to me whether his endorsement of Joe Biden is going to persuade South Carolina Democrats, who appear to be drifting toward Sen. Bernie Sanders in the late stages of the state’s primary campaign, to change their minds.

Which brings me to a significant point. Do endorsements of any nature really bring along votes?

There once was a time when voters waited to read what their local newspaper editorial boards thought about a campaign. They waited to see who the newspaper would endorse. They were motivated for two reasons. They either followed the newspaper’s advice, or — and this is for real — they cast their vote against the candidate the newspaper favored.

These days, with a plethora of information flooding us constantly, 24/7, nonstop, unrelentingly, many voters no longer look to those learned editors’ world views. They make up their minds, seemingly based on the views thrown at them by TV and radio blowhards.

It is becoming an exercise in futility for many politicians and others who get paid to offer their opinions on issues of the day and the candidates who are their champions.

The Dallas Morning News this year has announced it won’t endorse anyone for president. The paper’s editorial board didn’t say it, but my sense is that there is a possible back story borne of frustration that the newspaper would have little impact on its readers’ political leanings. So, why bother? The DMN instead is going to concentrate on the issues it deems critical to the voters and to the candidates who are seeking voters’ support.

I trust that Joe Biden will take James Clyburn’s endorsement seriously. He will ascribe high motivation behind it. Perhaps it’s merited. I will wait along with many other Americans to see if it translates into actual votes in a key primary state that propel the former VP back to front runner status.