Tag Archives: Bob Dole

Is there a ‘woodshed’ in Rep. Tlaib’s future?

Wouldn’t you know it? A rookie member of the U.S. House of Representatives blurts out a profane declaration, about how House Democrats are going to “impeach the mother***er” and fellow Democrats start expressing their anger at this upstart.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan has made her mark immediately. It’s not a pretty mark. She was seeking to fire up a crowd of progressive activists when she offered the foul-mouthed pledge to impeach Donald J. Trump.

Democrats getting angry

Other Democrats are upset that Tlaib has overturned their efforts to orchestrate an orderly transition to power in the House, now that they are in the majority. They don’t want to rush into what might turn out to be a foolish act if they seek impeachment before knowing all the facts related to the myriad issues at hand.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to file his report soon on his probe into “The Russia Thing.” Loudmouths like Tlaib are getting way ahead of themselves.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who calls impeachment a “last resort” — might need to escort the young freshman lawmaker to the proverbial “woodshed” for a woman-to-woman chat about how things get done in the People’s House. She ought to rethink her hands-off approach to Democratic caucus members’ fiery rhetoric.

It reminds of a time many years ago when a whipper-snapper U.S. senator named Rick Santorum sought to challenge one of the Senate’s elders about legislating.

The late Sen. Mark Hatfield, an Oregon Republican, chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee. He decided to vote against a defense bill to pay for a new nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Corpus Christi. Why the objection? Hatfield was a deeply religious man and he didn’t like the idea of a weapon of war carrying a name that translated from the Latin means “Body of Christ.” Santorum, a newly elected Republican from Pennsylvania, raised a stink about it and sought to have Hatfield removed from his key committee chairmanship.

One of the GOP Senate elders, Bob Dole of Kansas, took Santorum aside and said, in effect, “Young man, don’t even think about challenging Mark Hatfield.”

Santorum backed off.

There ought to be a similar scolding in Rep. Tlaib’s future as well.

Tough to watch Sen. Dole

The scene was almost too much to bear.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, a World War II hero of the first order, needed help to stand while he saluted the casket carrying his one time political rival, former President (and fellow World War II hero) George H.W. Bush.

Dole is a very old man now. His body is betraying him. He was pushed in a wheelchair toward the 41st president’s casket. To watch this great man struggle to stand — at attention! — while he paid tribute to the president tore hard at my heart.

Oh, I remember the day when Sen. Dole was known as a political pit bull. He ran as vice presidential running mate to President Ford on the 1976 Republican ticket. Do you remember when he referred –during a vice-presidential debate with Sen. Walter Mondale — to World War II, Korea and Vietnam as “Democrat wars”?

Then in 1988, he competed for the GOP presidential nomination against Vice President Bush, the same man he saluted today under the Capitol Dome. On a split TV screen, he said through a scowl that the VP should “stop lying about my record.”

In 1996, Dole became the Republican presidential nominee but lost in a landslide to President Clinton, who won re-election that year.

But before all that, Sen. Dole was a young soldier fighting for his country against the Nazis. In 1945, near the end of World War II, the young soldier was wounded grievously while trying to rescue another Army infantryman. He would lose the use of his right arm as a result of his wound. It didn’t stop him from pursuing a long and distinguished career in politics.

To watch him, then, struggle today and then lift his left hand to salute his former rival, well . . . it broke my heart.

Sen. Dole, too, is part of the Greatest Generation. He is a man to whom we all owe a debt of eternal gratitude for helping turn back the tyrants and for his decades of continued public service for the nation he cherishes.

Trump-Pence 2020 in possible doubt?

It’s not unheard of, but in recent years it’s a rare occurrence when a president of the United States jettisons a vice president and runs with a new running mate while seeking re-election.

Newsweek magazine is reporting that Donald Trump’s key advisers are floating the notion of replacing Vice President Mike Pence with U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley.

Why? Because the vice president was highly critical of that hideous “Access Hollywood” tape in which the future president disclosed how he could grab women by their genitals. Pence, a devout Christian, reportedly was incensed over what he heard … and Trump hasn’t forgiven Pence for the apparent “disloyalty,” according to Newsweek.

I am not going to dictate what I think Trump should do. That’s his call. Frankly, the vice president’s future is of little interest to me, other than whether he would ascend to the presidency if — dare I suggest it — that Trump doesn’t finish his term.

The most recent president to switch VPs was Gerald R. Ford, who kicked Vice President Nelson Rockefeller — who was appointed to the office — to the curb. President Ford selected Sen. Bob Dole as his 1976 running mate. The president lost his bid for election to the office to which he was appointed to Jimmy Carter.

Newsweek reportsThe president could be considering new strategies for his next campaign after Republicans were dealt major blows in last week’s midterm elections. Democrats picked up at least 36 seats to retake the House and prevented Republicans from further bolstering their lead in the Senate. This was an election Trump had turned into a referendum on his first two years in office.

Indeed, as I watched the returns roll in, it appears to many of us that Trump lost that “referendum” … bigly, if you know what I mean.

Does he toss the vice president overboard in some sort of hail-Mary effort to save his presidency? Not a damn thing would surprise me.

Happy birthday, Sen. Dole; thank you for saving the world

Robert Dole’s 95th birthday shines a vivid light on what we all have known for a long time.

It is that the world’s Greatest Generation is getting very old. Many of them are in failing health. They remind us daily — even without saying a word — of the sacrifice they made to protect us from tyranny and the tyrants who practiced it.

I saw a gentleman today, in fact, with a “World War II Veteran” ballcap. I thanked for him saving the world from the monsters who sought to enslave the world. He smiled and said, simply, “You’re welcome.”

That’s how it is with the Greatest Generation. They went to war, did their duty, answered the call and returned home to start their lives, rear their families, and live normal existences.

Sen. Dole is getting his share of good wishes today. He earned them all. He served for decades in the U.S. Senate, representing Kansas. He ran for president a couple of times, winning the Republican nomination in 1996 and then losing to President Clinton who won re-election in near-landslide proportions.

His service, though, preceded his political years by a good bit. It began when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and deployed to Italy, where he fought the Germans in the waning weeks of World War II.

Dole was wounded grievously in the Italian mountains. His right arm was shattered. He would keep his arm, but it became virtually useless.

He didn’t let the wound stop him from fulfilling many years of dedicated service to the country.

That’s how the Greatest Generation rolls. Indeed, subsequent and preceding generations of fighting men and women have exhibited these traits of selflessness.

However, I want to single out the Greatest Generation as a way to recognize one of its members, his service to the nation and take note of time’s inexorable march onward.

Happy birthday, Sen. Dole. And thank you.

Where is the outrage?

Back in 1996, when he was running for president of the United States, Republican nominee Bob Dole shouted at campaign rallies “Where’s the outrage!” over alleged indiscretions about President Clinton.

He would go on to lose the election bigly, but the question persists to this day.

Where is the outrage — from the current president of the United States — over allegations that Russian government officials sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election?

Donald John Trump has said nary a disparaging word about Russia’s efforts to cast Hillary Rodham Clinton in a negative light and whether those efforts played a role in the election outcome.

Oh, no. The president has instead lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller, calling his investigation the “biggest political witch hunt” in American political history. He has ripped into what he calls “fake news” media outlets. He has dismissed openly the analysis of several U.S. intelligence agencies’ view that, yes, the Russians did hack into our electoral system.

Rather than expressing anger, fear and outrage that the Russians meddled in our electoral system, the president instead has questioned the need to determine the truth and the motives of those who are seeking to find it.

He’s hired a team of lawyers to represent him, which is a tacit acknowledgment that he is under investigation by Mueller over his campaign’s possible role in that election-meddling. Then one of them goes on television over the weekend and says — in the same interview — that Trump is being investigated by Mueller and that he is not being investigated.

All the while, the president remains stone-cold silent about Russian hanky-panky.

Where is the outrage, Mr. President?

‘Ready for Joe!’ in 2020?

Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Human Rights Campaign Spring Equity Convention in Washington, Friday, March 6, 2015. Biden said the same human rights that African Americans fought for in Selma, Alabama, are at stake for gay rights activists today. Biden is drawing parallels between the civil rights and gay rights movements in a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Joe Biden said “farewell” today to the U.S. Senate, where he served for 36 years before becoming vice president of the United States in 2009.

Then he joked that he might not be going anywhere after all.

Or … was he joking?

The vice president said he won’t rule out a run for the presidency in 2020. He’s not saying he will, mind you. He’s just not saying “no.”

Here we go with the speculation.

It’s how it goes these days. We get through one presidential election and the guessing begins for the next one. The VP has leavened the discussion just a bit.

There was this from NBCNews.com: “I doubt that there is any member of the caucus that would say if you’re making alist of the top three people he’s just about at the top of that list,” said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

Hoyer was talking about Biden, of course.


I’m not going to get into the guessing game here. Let’s just note the obvious, which is that the vice president will be 78 years of age in 2020. Who was the oldest man to seek the presidency? That would be Sen. Bob Dole, who was 73 when he lost to President Clinton in 1996.

I wanted Biden to run this year. Four years from now?

I’m going to wait before getting too worked up.

Sen. Dole reminds GOP of its dignified past

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 20:  Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., salutes the casket of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, as his body lies in state in the Capitol rotunda, as Dole's wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., looks on.  Bob Dole and Inouye knew each other since they were recovering from World War II battle wounds.  Dole was assisted to the casket saying "I wouldn't want Danny to see me in a wheelchair."  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Many Republican luminaries are staying away from the Republican Party’s national presidential nominating convention.

But not all of them.

A serious man attended today’s opening of the convention in Cleveland.

He is former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican who represented his state and served our country with tremendous honor.

Sen. Dole was there to support presumptive presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. That’s what party loyalists do, whether they’re Democrat or Republican. Dole is a loyalist to the core.

He also represents another time in this country when Republicans and Democrats could be political adversaries, not enemies.

MSNBC commentators took note of Dole’s distinguished career in public life. They brought up his years in the Senate. They mentioned how, in 1976, President Ford selected him as his running mate to assuage conservatives’ concerns. They talked also of Dole’s conservative principles as he ran for president in 1988 against fellow Republican George H.W. Bush.

Of course, they mentioned his losing 1996 presidential campaign against President Clinton.

Here’s another element of Dole’s service they mentioned: They talked about his heroic service in the Army during World War II, in which he suffered grievous injury while fighting the Nazis in Italy.

It was right after coming home from the battlefield that young Bob Dole would meet another young American with whom he would undergo rehabilitation. The forged a friendship in the rehab hospital that would last a lifetime.

The other young man was Daniel Inouye, who would become a U.S. senator from Hawaii, and who was as loyal to his Democratic Party as Dole is to the GOP.

Inouye also suffered near-mortal wounds during World War II. He would receive the Medal of Honor for his battlefield heroics.

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd took particular note today of when Sen. Inouye died and his friend Bob Dole stood in front of Inouye’s casket to salute him. He told the honor guard that his “good friend Danny wouldn’t want to see me sitting here” in a wheelchair, Todd said.

Dole represented a time when senators could disagree, but maintain personal affection and friendship.

I was gratified to see this member of the “greatest generation” one more time.

If only his political descendants — on both sides of the partisan divide — would follow the example of collegiality that he and his “good friend Danny” set for politicians all across the land.

Get ready for record low turnout … possibly


John Ellis Bush likely spoke for a lot of Americans over the weekend.

He doesn’t like Donald J. Trump and he won’t vote for him for president. Nor does he trust Hillary Rodham Clinton, so she won’t get his vote, either.

Bush — aka “Jeb” — is quite likely going to leave the top of his ballot blank when the time comes for him to vote.

He said it “breaks my heart” that he cannot support the Republican Party nominee, Trump. But he and the presumptive GOP nominee have some history that Bush cannot set aside.

Bush told MSBNC’s Nicolle Wallace — a former communications director for President George W.  Bush — that Trump has conducted what amounts to a successful mutiny of the Republican Party. He praises the real estate mogul/TV celebrity for winning the party nomination fair and square. Trump, though, did it by tapping into a voter sentiment that none of the other GOP candidates — including Jeb Bush — could locate.

This makes me think my earlier prediction of a potentially record-low-turnout election might not be too far off the mark.

The current record belongs to the 1996 contest that saw President Bill Clinton re-elected over Bob Dole and Ross Perot with just a 49 percent turnout of eligible voters.

Now we have polling data that tell us Hillary Clinton and Trump are profoundly disliked by most voters. FBI Director James Comey’s stunning critique of Clinton’s handling of classified information on her personal e-mail server has only heightened voters’ mistrust of her … and to think that the director then said he wouldn’t recommend criminal charges be brought against her!

As for Trump, well, I won’t weigh in here. You know how much I despise that guy.

Jeb Bush won’t attend the GOP convention. Neither will his brother and father — two former presidents. Nor will Mitt Romney or John McCain, the party’s two most recent presidential nominee.

Oh, and the governor of the state where the convention will take place? Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another former Republican presidential candidate, won’t darken the door at the Cleveland arena where delegates are going to nominate Donald Trump.

Let’s face the daunting reality that a lot of Americans just might follow Jeb’s lead and stay home.

Good luck, editorialists, in making your decision


Newspaper endorsements don’t matter as much as they have historically.

People get their news and commentary from myriad sources. They turn less and less to newspaper editorial pages for guidance, counsel, wisdom and thoughtful commentary.

This election year is going to give those who write editorial commentary for a living a special challenge.

Who of the two major-party presidential candidates will get their endorsement? Will either of them get an endorsement? Will newspaper editorial boards throw up their collective hands and ask, “What in the hell is the point?”

I did that kind of work for most of my 37 years in daily print journalism.

I wrote editorials for a small daily suburban newspaper in Oregon City, Ore., from 1979 until 1984; I did the same thing as editorial writer and later editor of the editorial page for the Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise; then I became editorial page editor of the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News in 1995, a job I held until August 2012.

The choices this year appear — in the minds of many journalists — to be pretty grim. Dismal. Miserable. Who gets the paper’s nod — Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton or Republican Donald J. Trump?

Now it’s time for an admission: On several occasions during my three-plus decades in daily journalism, I wrote editorial endorsements with which I disagreed. I don’t have that burden to bear these days.

In 1980, knowing my publisher could not endorse President Carter for re-election, I drafted an editorial endorsing independent candidate John B. Anderson. The publisher, in Oregon City, looked at it, brought the draft out to me and said, “No can do.” We endorsed Ronald Reagan for president; yes, I swallowed hard and wrote it.

I worked for Republican-leaning newspaper publishers throughout my career. Every four years I would huddle with the publisher and go through the motions of arguing my case for the candidate of my choosing … only to be told that “we” are going to endorse the other guy.

My final stop, of course, was in Amarillo, where I worked for a corporate ownership that is fervently Republican. Yes, through several presidential election cycles, the discussion of presidential endorsements was brief and quite, shall we say, “frank.”

Bob Dole got our nod in 1996, George W. Bush got it in 2000 and 2004, John McCain earned it in 2008. I was tasked with overseeing the publication of all of them. I cannot remember which of those I actually wrote.

The task facing editorialists this year will be daunting. I’m glad it’s their call and no longer mine.

I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see how my former employer comes down in this year’s race. Clinton has zero chance of being endorsed by a newspaper owned by Morris Communications Corp. I also doubt they’ll go with the Libertarian ticket led by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

Trump is the last man standing. If the Globe-News takes the plunge, I’ll await with interest how it will set aside all the ridiculous assertions, lies, the candidate’s utter lack of knowledge of anything and the absence of any grounding principles.

Take my word for it, the corporate bosses are a conservative bunch and I will be interested to see how — or if — they set aside those principles just to recommend someone simply because he pledges to “build a wall” and “make America great again.”

Could I write that one? A friend and former colleague of mine was fond of saying, “If you take The Man’s money, you play by The Man’s rules.” Thus, I was able to justify setting aside my own personal taste and philosophy to do The Man’s bidding.

This time? I couldn’t.

I’d walk out before having to write anything that recommends Trump’s election as president.

Good luck, my former colleagues, as you deliberate over this one.

But … senator, you cast your vote in secret


Bob Dole says he just cannot support Hillary Rodham Clinton’s quest for the presidency.

The former Republican U.S. senator from Kansas said he’s been a Republican all his life. Donald J. Trump, his party’s presumed presidential nominee, is “flawed,” according to Dole, but he’s getting his vote anyway.

“I have an obligation to the party. I mean, what am I going to do? I can’t vote for George Washington. So I’m supporting Donald Trump,” Dole explained Friday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

I think I want to reset this for just a moment.

I have great respect and admiration for Sen. Dole. I admire him for his valiant service to the country in the Army during World War II, for his years in the Senate and for his ability to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats; he and fellow World War II hero Sen. George McGovern, for example, were great personal friends and occasional legislative partners, particularly on programs involving agriculture.

He said, though, that he has to put party first and he must support Trump in his upcoming fight against Clinton.

The reset is this: Sen. Dole can say it all he wants — until he runs out of breath — that he’s going to vote a certain way.

But one of the many beauties of our political system is that we get to vote in private. It’s a secret. We all can blab our brains out over who we intend to vote for, but when the time comes we can change our mind.


I think of Bob Dole as more of a patriot than a partisan.

He had been involved with government for many decades. He ran for president himself in 1996, losing in an Electoral College landslide to President Bill Clinton.

I don’t intend to sound cynical about what Bob Dole is going to do when the time comes to cast his vote. However, his party’s presidential nominee is like a volcano waiting to erupt.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sen. Dole changes his mind over the course of the next few weeks and perhaps decide to keep that spot on his ballot unchecked.

A part of me would like to prove it.