Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Dr. Carpetbagger set to seek 13th Congressional District seat

What do you know about this?

A fellow who hasn’t lived anywhere near the 13th Congressional District for many years has decided to run for the House of Representatives seat being vacated by an incumbent who’s been there since 1995.

This Republican candidate, though, does have some name recognition. He is Ronny Jackson, a now-retired U.S. Navy physician who once served as personal doctor to two presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Jackson wants to succeed Mac Thornberry of Clarendon.

Dr. Jackson is a native of Levelland. However, he has been serving his country for more than two decades in the Navy. He also got tapped by Donald Trump to become veterans secretary. His nomination derailed, though, amid controversy arising from the absence of any administrative experience, not to mention allegations that he abused his staff, overprescribed drugs and drank too much while on the job as the president’s doctor. Jackson pulled out.

So now he wants to serve in Congress.

Jackson joins a crowded GOP field, with 13 other candidates running in the Republican Party. I am left to wonder whether this guy is going to parlay his name ID into a congressional job, representing a congressional district about which he likely knows next to nothing.

What fascinates me is that while he does have West Texas roots, Levelland is in the 11th Congressional District. Has the good doctor ever lived anywhere near the district he now wants to represent? Has he ever attended a grange hall meeting in Claude, or Fritch, or Dumas, or Memphis? What does this fellow know about farm policy, or water conservation, or any of the issues unique to communities such as Amarillo, or Wichita Falls?

The 13th District is spread out a long way, from the Panhandle toward the Metroplex. It is as reliably Republican as any congressional district in this nation. With apologies to my good friend Greg Sagan, who’s running as a Democrat again this year for the seat, it isn’t likely to flip to the other party in 2020.

However, the district’s constituents need to representation from someone who at least knows the issues that are unique to the sprawling region.

Dr. Jackson looks like a carpetbagger to me.

What if Barack Obama had done this?

I know you’ve heard political pundits ask this question: What would the Republican response be if Barack Obama had been accused of doing what Donald Trump has been accused of doing?

Well, we all know the answer to that one. Congressional Republicans would go ballistic. They would be apoplectic. They would file articles of impeachment while the echoes of the allegations were still ringing in their ears.

However, the question by itself ignores what I believe is a necessary corollary question, which I haven’t heard anyone pose: How would congressional Democrats respond if President Obama were accused of the transgressions that have been alleged against Trump?

I realize the second question results in a more problematic and unclear answer than the first one. Indeed, the whole rhetorical exercise speaks directly to a supreme hypothetical question. Politicians say they don’t like answering hypothetical questions, and I do not blame them for that reticence.

This is my take only on it, so here goes.

I believe GOP acquiescence to Trump’s misbehavior is a symptom of slavish fealty to one man, the president. It also reveals a lack of seriousness among GOP politicians to the oath they took to defend the Constitution against such abuses. This relative silence underscores the chokehold that Trump has placed on the Republican Party.

It also might reveal that Democrats did not hold Trump’s immediate Democratic presidential predecessor in the same almost-holy regard as their Republican colleagues feel toward Donald Trump.

Thus, I harbor a good bit of hope that had Barack Obama had pressured a foreign government to dig up dirt on, say, Mitt Romney or even Donald Trump that more than a token number of congressional Democrats would be as appalled as they are today at the actions of a Republican president.

The stone-cold devotion of today’s Republican congressional caucus to the president stands as a violation of the oath they all took to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Hey, wasn’t the ‘national debt’ considered a deal breaker?

Check it out! Twenty-three trillion! As in dollars, man!

What does it represent? The national debt.

It crossed yet another milestone. The national debt keeps growing, despite bold — and arguably reckless — predictions that the president of the United States all by himself was going to eliminate the annual budget deficit by the end of his second term.

It, too, keeps growing, adding to the debt that those in Donald Trump’s Republican Party used to warn would bankrupt the country.

Has it bankrupted the United States of America? I don’t think it has, although the debt does pose a serious potential threat.

I guess my concern is that Donald Trump’s penchant for braggadocio persuade enough Americans to vote for him in 2016. He made that bold promise. He called himself “the king of debt,” whatever that was supposed to mean. Trump also pledged to balance the budget.

The current fiscal year deficit is growing at a breakneck pace, owing to the tax cuts enacted for the richest Americans along with still-uncontrolled federal spending.

I recall vividly the mantra repeated throughout the 2012 presidential campaign that the national debt, which totaled about $16 trillion, was the deal-breaker among Republicans. GOP nominee Mitt Romney said President Obama must not be re-elected because the national debt was just unsustainable. The message didn’t sell, as Obama was re-elected with a handsome margin — although it was diminished from the margin that Obama rolled up in 2008.

The debt has piled on another $7 trillion since 2012. It is still growing. What is Donald Trump going to promise to do about it to ensure his re-election in 2020?

I’m all ears.

Remember ‘Tan Suitgate’?

Wow! I actually am longing for the days when some folks got all riled up over the color of the suit the president might wear while talking in the White House press briefing room.

It was a bit more than five years ago when President Obama showed up wearing the tan suit. Remember that one? Why, you woulda thought the world had been swallowed into a black hole, that the president of the United States had gone batty, that hell had frozen over and that the Martians had landed … for real this time!

According to Yahoo.com: In addition to being generally panned by fashion experts, Obama’s light-hued look, worn to a White House briefing, scandalized cable news pundits. Lou Dobbs called it “shocking,” while Republican congressman Peter King said it represented POTUS’s “lack of seriousness” in the wake of recent ISIS attacks.

Hey, does anyone remember the plaid suit that President Ford wore on occasion? I think the president was stylin’ back in the 1970s. Imagine any president today appearing that getup.

Well, we’ve progressed — or perhaps regressed — to bigger scandals these days. The sharply dressed president of the moment, Donald J. Trump, is accused of impeachable offenses and is awaiting, along with many of the rest of us, the moment he becomes the third president impeached by the House of Representatives.

But what the heck. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a tan suit.

No, Mr. POTUS, you didn’t ‘beat’ your predecessor

“And then we beat Barack Hussein Obama and whatever the hell dynasty that is.”

Uh, Mr. President, I had to share that quote you blurted out in Florida last night just to remind you of the idiotic notions that fly out of your pie hole.

Mr. President, you didn’t “beat” President Obama. You never ran against him. Maybe you meant to allude to the fact that you did manage to eke out a win over the candidate he wanted to win, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, in keeping with your rhetorical carelessness and your penchant for lying, you didn’t bother to qualify that idiocy with anything approaching the truth.

Why? I am convinced as sure as I’m typing these words that you are utterly unaware of the meaning of “truth.” It is a foreign concept to you and your self-indulgence, self-aggrandizing and service only to your own self-interest.

So, when you blather something nonsensical about how you “beat Barack Hussein Obama,” we are left only to shake our heads … and hope like the dickens that you (a) are tossed out of office in the Senate trial or (b) are drummed out at the ballot box next November.

I remain hopeful that one of those things will happen.

I’ll add just this, once again: Mr. President, you make me sick.

Principled stands occasionally rub us the wrong way

If one is going to argue a point on principle, then fairness dictates that the principle must stand no matter whose policy is the subject of the discussion of the moment.

With that, I have to declare that my vigorous opposition to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to play politics with President Obama’s authority to appoint a Supreme Court justice compels me to make a declaration that is going to anger some readers of this blog.

It is that Donald Trump deserves to be treated fairly if the time comes for him to make a SCOTUS nomination during the heat of a presidential campaign.

I heard the news about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s hospitalization over a fever and thought what many of you thought as well: What if she can no longer serve on the nation’s highest court? I hate harboring macabre thoughts, but realism requires us to recognize that the justice is 86 years of age and has been battling cancer.

OK, that said, she also is a noted progressive jurist appointed to the high court in 1993 by President Clinton. She is the second-most senior tenured justice on the court, behind archconservative Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.

The politics gets stickier than pine bar on a baseball bat.

Conservative icon Antonin Scalia died suddenly in early 2016. President Obama wanted to nominate Merrick Garland to succeed him. Garland is known as a judicial moderate who tilts a bit to the left. McConnell intervened. He said under no circumstances should Obama, a lame duck, should be allowed to fill that vacancy. He blocked Obama’s choice in the Senate, which has confirmation power.

Many of us went ballistic. I was one of millions of Americans who were enraged at McConnell’s power play. How dare he interfere with the president’s constitutionally granted authority? He wanted to wait for the 2016 election to play out before handing the matter over to the next president. It was a raw partisan act and it was wrong.

I argued the point on the principle of presidential authority taking precedence.

So, here we are today.

Another president is in office. Donald Trump has selected two high court justices already. If he gets a chance to select a third one in the event that Justice Ginsburg retires or … well, you know … then he gets to nominate a justice to succeed this progressive icon.

We all know what the reaction will be. It will mirror the reaction that erupted in progressive circles when Scalia died and Garland got the nomination. Only this time conservatives will argue that the president deserves to have his nominee seated; progressives will seek to block it, perhaps in the manner that McConnell did.

It would be as wrong to block Trump as it was to block Obama.

The more reasonable — and principled — option would be for Democrats to regain control of the Senate after the 2020 election. Then the Senate could exercise its appointment power when a conservative justice’s spot on the court is vacated. Voters also can kick Trump out of office, presuming he survives the pending impeachment and Senate trial, and elect someone who will forgo the ultra-right-wing agenda favored by the incumbent.

Given my own often-stated bias, I take no pleasure in making this declaration. I feel I must … in the name of principle.

In the meantime, I intend to pray real hard for Justice Ginsburg’s good health.

Wanting next POTUS to rescind transgender ban

Donald Trump took office as president and began issuing a flurry of executive orders, even though he criticized Barack Obama for his use of executive authority when he was president of the United States.

One of the orders he issued revoked an Obama order that allowed transgender Americans to serve openly in the U.S. military. Trump listened to his base of supporters and rescinded the previous order.

He is now getting his re-election campaign ramped up. Many of the Democrats seeking to succeed him want to yank the transgender ban off the books and allow those patriotic Americans to don the uniform of their country while serving in the military.

I fully support lifting the ban. Even the Washington Examiner, a newspaper friendly to the Trump agenda, has urged the president to take a second look at the transgender ban.

Trump offered a number of dubious assertions seeking to justify his decision to rescind the previous executive order. The worst of those reasons had something to do with the money that the Defense Department would be spending on personnel who would be in various stages of what is called “gender reassignment.” The counter argument to that notion, of course, came from those who noted the enormous amount of money the Pentagon spends on medication to correct maladies such as, oh, “erectile dysfunction.”

Without doubt, though, the most ironic aspect of Trump’s decision dealt with his denying Americans’ desire to serve their country when, back in the day, Trump avoided/evaded such service during the Vietnam War. He secured the now widely derided medical exemption relating to alleged “bone spurs” that Trump said he suffered on his feet.

For this president to deny Americans the opportunity to serve, which they seek to do voluntarily, is ridiculous on its face.

Furthermore, I equate the military transgender ban with the idiotic Bathroom Bill that the 2017 Texas Legislature considered enacting. You’ll recall that one, yes? The Senate approved a bill that required people to use public restrooms in accordance with their gender at birth; it was meant clearly to discriminate against transgendered individuals. The Texas House, led by then-Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, killed the idea in a special session.

Whoever succeeds Trump — whether it’s after this upcoming election or the next one — has vowed to restore some justice to our military ranks. My fervent hope is that the opportunity comes sooner rather than later.

DACA appears to be on the ropes at SCOTUS

The word out of Washington, D.C. is out: The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority appears to be readying a decision that will enable the deportation of U.S. residents who were brought here illegally as children by their parents.

Donald Trump sought to have them sent back to their country of origin, even though these individuals know only life in the United States. They are the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals recipients.

DACA might be on the ropes.

The court will issue its decision in mid-2020, at the height of the presidential election. One should be wary of trying to predict what the court will rule.

The president has seated two new members on the court, giving him a narrow but solid conservative majority. I realize that elections have consequences and we well might learn next year just how dramatic those consequences can get.

President Obama issued an executive order that granted temporary amnesty from deportation for DACA recipients. Trump took office and then rescinded that order. Critics, such as yours truly, have called the rescission a heartless act. DACA recipients by and large have grown up as de facto Americans. They aren’t citizens, but they are full-fledged residents of this country. Many of them have become successful in many endeavors.

What would happen to them if they are sent to countries they do not know?

Well, the highest court in America will deliver its decision in due course. The hearing today, according to those who heard it, suggests the court is leaning heavily toward backing Trump on DACA.

This well could be a sad moment for many hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents.

Fix the DACA mess; restore humaneness to our immigration policy

 ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A Facebook friend, a man I actually know and respect, brought up a point on an earlier blog post that I want to acknowledge here.

He agrees with my belief that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency needs to be repaired, not eliminated, but he cautions about the need to deal with the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals matter as well.

He is correct.

DACA recipients are being punished unjustly only because they were children when their parents sneaked them into the country illegally. The Donald Trump administration wants them deported. The president rescinded an executive order that President Obama signed that gave DACA residents a form of temporary amnesty from deportation.

ICE is under orders to find these folks and detain them.

This isn’t right. It’s cruel and it is inhumane to deport DACA recipients, many of whom have excelled scholastically in the only country they’ve ever known.

I should point out as well two previous Texas governors — George W. Bush and Rick Perry, both Republicans — have all but embraced the idea contained in the DACA executive order that Obama signed. They have supported initiatives, for instances, to grant DACA students in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Texas. Why? Because they recognize the contributions these young students can make if they are allowed to succeed while continuing to reside in Texas.

ICE can do much good for the country as we seek to reform our immigration policy. I also agree with former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s campaigning for president, that the best way to ensure a thorough and lasting repair of ICE is to change presidents. Donald Trump won’t do it.

Indeed, DACA reform must be part of any effort to re-humanize our nation’s immigration policy.

Don Jr. is in dire need of a reality check

Donald J. Trump Jr. is hawking a book with his name on it that, he says, seeks to fight back against what he calls mean-spirited attacks from the far left wing of the political spectrum.

Then he goes a step or three too far. He has declared on live TV that Republicans have sat back for “too long” while the left beats the daylights out of them with their attack machine.

Wow, man! Hold on for a second or two. Let’s take a walk along the political memory lane.

1972: President Nixon was running for re-election. His Democratic opponent was U.S. Sen. George McGovern, a fervent Vietnam War critic. He wanted the United States to end the war immediately. The Republican Party and the president’s re-election committee labeled McGovern a patsy, a wimp, a dovish coward. They questioned his patriotism and love of country. Oh, and then there’s this: Sen. McGovern was a decorated World War II U.S. Army Air Force bomber pilot who flew into harm’s way in Europe.

There’s that.

1992: President George H.W. Bush ran for re-election against Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. The Republican National Committee, along with heavily financed political action groups, sought to link Gov. Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the deaths of former aides. The implication was that the Clintons were somehow complicit in their deaths. The attacks continued even after Clinton was elected that year, with some on the right suggesting that they murdered their close friend Vincent Foster, who committed suicide shortly after President Clinton took office.

That’s an example, too.

2004: U.S. Sen. John Kerry was the Democratic presidential nominee. Prior to becoming a U.S. senator, he held elective office in Massachusetts. Prior to that he was part of a group called Vietnam Veterans Against the War. And, yes, he also had served heroically in Vietnam as a Navy swift boat officer. He was awarded several medals, including the Bronze Star, Silver Star and Purple Heart. But some foes on the right decided to “Swift Boat” Kerry, suggesting he didn’t really serve with valor. They launched a vicious, defamatory attack on his character. One of the chief financial sponsors of that hideous attack was the late Boone Pickens, the former Amarillo oil and natural gas tycoon.

OK, I have one more example.

2008: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama ran for president as the Democratic nominee. Some notable Republicans felt compelled to question whether the African-American presidential nominee was qualified to run for the office. They said he was born in Kenya. They challenged his constitutional eligibility. Obama said he was born in Hawaii in 1961. His mother was white; his father was a black Kenyan. He didn’t know his father and was raised by his mother and her parents, who lived in Kansas. All of his efforts to persuade his critics fell on largely deaf ears.

One set of deaf ears happened to belong to Donald J. Trump Sr., the current president of the United States and father of the nincompoop who is saying that Republicans have been silent for too long.

My point is this: Don Jr. needs to stop lying about alleged Republican “silence” in this toxic and vicious political climate. They have contributed more than their share of poison.