Tag Archives: Democratic Party

‘Litmus test’ must not be a four-letter word

I have long wondered why the term “litmus test” has become a sort of plague to politicians running for offices that hold the power of appointment.

The U.S. Supreme Court, for instance, is going to become a key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. Namely, the issue will revolve a potential appointment of the next justice on the nine-member court.

The expected Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, will insist he would appoint justices with a record of favoring pro-life litigants who would come before his or her court. Indeed, he’s already got two judicial appointments on the SCOTUS and they certainly seem to fit the bill prescribed by what Trump has said.

The large field of Democratic Party candidates will argue to a person that they want judicial candidates who take a more expansive view of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

But no one says they will apply a “litmus test” to determine who they intend to nominate the highest court in the nation.

They dance all over and around the issue. Litmus tests exist on all sorts of issues. They involve capital punishment, sentencing guidelines, drug policy, firearm ownership and, yes, abortion.

We know the types of individuals that presidents would nominate. They telegraph that punch before they deliver it. However, we refuse to hold them accountable on whether they are applying litmus tests on the individuals they are considering for these appointments.

U.S. senators who have the right to confirm or deny these appointments often make their decisions on single issues. Yet they won’t ever acknowledge they have applied a litmus test to the nominee, indicating whether they pass or fail the exam.

This is a circuitous way of saying, I suppose, that we apply litmus tests at every turn.

Why not, then, just call them what we know them to be?

What’s with this Sen. Klobuchar ‘toughness’?

What the hell is going on here? Media reporting keeps harping about how “tough” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a declared Democratic Party candidate for president, is on her staff.

Now there’s this bit: She supposedly berated a staff member for failing to bring eating utensils; thus, Klobuchar was “forced” to eat a salad with — get this! — a comb.

A comb? What?

This social media gossip is getting weirder by the day.

I shudder to think what we’re going to hear about all the candidates once this 2020 campaign gets really heated up.

Hold on, folks. It’s gonna get bumpy. Real bumpy!

Not going to feel the ‘Bern’ this time, either

Readers of this blog no doubt understand that I want Donald Trump to be defeated for re-election in 2020. He is unfit for office. He is unfit for public service at any level. I want him to disappear from public view. The sooner the better.

That all stated — yet again! — I am chagrined that one of the possible challengers to the president has decided to re-enter the fight.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, is now a member of the gigantic and still growing field of Democrats running for president in 2020.

Please, Bernie. Why are you back in this race?

Sanders isn’t even a Democrat. He runs for the Senate as an independent, meaning he is unaffiliated with either major political party. He caucuses with Senate Democrats, votes with them on virtually all legislative matters and so I guess that makes him a  de facto Democrat.

My hope remains as I stated it some months ago: I want the next Democratic Party presidential nominee to be someone no one has heard of. I want that person to emerge from the tall grass, to burst on the scene with flair and panache.

Please forgive me if I sound like an ageist, but I also want that nominee to be someone a lot younger than the 77-year-old Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is a political retread. He ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016 essentially on a single issue: income inequality. He beat that issue bloody while losing the nomination fight to Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is a totally legitimate issue, but it is not the singular issue that commends him to the highest office in the United States.

Indeed, the senator needed to demonstrate a much wider range of knowledge than he has exhibited.

I suppose his candidacy elevates him immediately to the top tier of potential Democratic nominees. He’s up there with, say, Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and perhaps even Elizabeth Warren.

The roster of candidates is sure to grow. Goodness, it might exceed 25 or so candidates.

I want one of those Democrats to emerge as The One, the individual who can take the fight directly to Donald Trump.

It’s just not Bernie Sanders.

Dems worry about intraparty conflict? Get over it!

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly is worried that factions within the Democratic Party are too busy fighting with each other while not fighting hard enough against, oh, Donald Trump and the Republicans.

Hey, get over it, Mme. Speaker and your fellow party honchos.

Your friends on the other side have had their share of intraparty squabbles, too. There have been spats between the so-called Establishment Republicans and the TEA Party wing of the GOP; the TEA Party has morphed more or less into something called the Freedom Caucus, which continues to raise Cain against the Establishment types.

The Republican Party is going through much of the same kind of tumult, tempest and turmoil that plagued the Democrats back in the 1960s. Perhaps some of today’s Democratic leaders recall when the Vietnam War split the party — and the nation — between the Hawks and the Doves.

Fights sometimes are worth having

I don’t believe there’s as much to “worry” about as some within today’s Democratic Party seem to suggest there is.

A little internal fighting is good for the organization. It keeps everyone sharp, on both sides. Republicans have sought to take that lesson away during their own ideological struggles.

These lessons know no partisan boundaries.

Has Beto waited too long?

Beto O’Rourke’s legion of followers might be witnessing a total eclipse of a political star.

The one-time West Texas congressman who came tantalizingly close to defeating Ted Cruz in the race for the U.S. Senate is now watching on the sidelines as three former congressional colleagues scarf up all the headlines while running for president.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have become the flavors of the moment. As Politico reports, those on the sidelines are waiting for one or more of them to mess up. Beto might be one of them waiting with bated breath.

I am not yet convinced that Beto O’Rourke is presidential material. He’s a young man. He waged an unconventional, no-consultant, no-polling campaign for the U.S. Senate seat in Texas. He damn near won against a Republican incumbent!

He has nowhere to go but . . . down? Not really.

However, politics is often like baseball, meaning that “timing is everything.” Given the pace of politics in this Internet/social media/ digital age it appears possible that Beto O’Rourke’s window might be closing. He’s not alone, of course. A crowd of other Democrats are being caught flat-footed by the excitement generated already as the 2020 campaign starts to ignite.

Kamala Harris’s announcement was a spectacular event. Elizabeth Warren is seeking to shed the baggage she piled on herself with that DNA test to prove her native American heritage. Cory Booker is seen by some as “too establishment” to suit the base of the Democratic Party.

Does that make Sen. Harris the early frontrunner? Oh, it’s possible, I suppose.

As for Beto O’Rourke, I am thinking he’d better decide quickly whether he’s in . . . or out.

Hey, there’s always 2024!

Unity, Mr. President? You’re going to talk ‘unity’?

Donald J. Trump has let the cat out of the bag.

The president’s long-planned State of the Union speech is going to stress several points, but he said he wants to stress “unity” in his pitch to a joint session of Congress and to the nation that will watch him on TV.

Well, now. What do you think about that? Here’s what I think.

I believe the president will have to demonstrate his quest for political unity by scrapping a petulant rhetorical device we hear Republicans use all the time.

The first time he uses the term “Democrat” as an adjective — as in “Democrat lawmakers” or “Democrat Party” — will be a clue that his unity pledge is just another empty platitude.

That bit of rhetorical chicanery grates on me. I hate hearing it because I know why Republicans do it. They bastardize the term “Democrat” that way because it has an edge to it. The term doesn’t roll off the tongue the way “Democratic” does.

The conversion of “Democrat” into a adjective began during the mid-1990s when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich decided to characterize Democrats as the “enemy of normal Americans.” I’ll hand it to Republican politicians ever since. They’ve done a good job of turning their “friends” on the other side of the aisle into political cartoon characters.

The latest top Republican, Trump, now is set to talk yet again about unity. He wants to unify the country. He intends to use the SOTU speech as his vehicle for doing that.

Good! I wish him well. I want him to unify the country. I want him to bridge the divide.

I also want him to stop pis**** off those of us who align with the Democratic Party simply by using the term “Democrat” in that insulting manner that has worked so well for the Republics.

No, Mr. POTUS, Pelosi isn’t ‘bad for the country’; you are!

Mr. President, I cannot let you get away with this nonsense you spouted on CBS News.

Your belief that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “very bad for the country” is laughable on its face. Except that it ain’t funny.

What’s “funny,” and my laughter is of the derisive kind, is that you say these things with a straight face. You, sir, are the one who is “bad for the country.” I hate saying that about the president of the United States, but I feel as though I must.

Speaker Pelosi is performing just as she did when he held the post the first time. You weren’t around Washington back then. You were still slapping your name on high-rise buildings and “firing” people on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Pelosi was controlling her Democratic Party congressional caucus. She was helping ensure that President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act legislation got passed by the House and eventually by the Senate. She was doing her job as a legislative leader.

She is displaying her strong hand once again in this silly battle over The Wall and whether we should pay for it. Your ridiculous campaign promise that Mexico would pay for it has been exposed for what it is: utter nonsense. Yet you make these idiotic pledges anyway.

You call Pelosi “rigid”? No, sir. She is standing behind her principles and is holding her caucus firm in its resistance to building The Wall. You contend you are ready to declare a “national emergency” where none exists on our southern border. You are prompting a legal challenge. You are intent on putting our military personnel to work as wall builders. Haven’t you heard your fellow Republicans urge you to resist this measure, that you are courting disaster?

That, Mr. President, represents a public policy that is “very bad for the country.”

‘Unity’ becomes cliche of the 2020 campaign season

Cory Booker launched his 2020 presidential campaign today. The New Jersey Democratic U.S. senator declared — to no one’s surprise — that he pledges to “unify” the country.

Let’s see. Who else has said that? Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and any number of other Democrats — declared or undeclared candidates — have said the same thing.

So, too, has the man they want to defeat, Republican Donald J. Trump, the current president of the United States.

Trump has failed at every level to unify the country. He speaks only to his base when he rails against illegal immigrants, when he speaks of banning travelers from Muslim countries, when he bans transgender Americans from serving in the military, when he repeals Barack Obama-era environmental regulations.

He cares not one damn bit about the rest of us.

So now we have Democrats declaring their intention to succeed Trump. They want to “unify” the country. I am likely to scream when I hear that platitude fly out of the mouth of the next Democrat who decides to run against Trump.

It is a cliché that has no meaning to me. To say you intend to do something doesn’t equate immediately to any tangible result.

What I want to hear from all these presidential candidates are specifics on how they intend to deliver on the noble promise. Yes, it might be a worn-out cliché, but it is a noble one.

However, enough with the empty pledges.

Bernie going for it again in 2020? Please, no!

Say this isn’t really happening.

Bernie Sanders, the Democrat in Name Only senator from Vermont, reportedly is hiring additional staff while he gears up for a possible/probable run for president in 2020. I will call him a DINO.

Good grief! Tell me it ain’t happening.

I am not feeling the Bern. I know he has his fans and a strong legion of supporters. I also know he came surprisingly close to capturing the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Here’s my problem with Bernie: He’s not a Democrat. He would be running as a Democrat, but he’s listed in the U.S. Senate roster as an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

I have another problem with Bernie. His 2020 campaign is going sound like the one-note samba his 2016 campaign sounded. He will tell us that too few people have acquired too much of our wealth; he wants to redistribute the wealth; he wants to provide free college to every student in America (how he pays for it is a mystery to me); and he wants “Medicare for All” Americans.

We have seen during the Donald Trump administration that we also need a coherent, strong and reasonable foreign policy. I do not see Bernie Sanders offering such a thing were he to become elected president.

He’s been to the well already. He doesn’t need to return. I do not want him to run for president. I want a fresher face from which we will hear a fresher voice.

Big field jockeying to challenge an incumbent

In what we used to think of as “normal” political circumstances, the presence of an incumbent president running for re-election would scare off potential challengers.

Donald Trump, though, has torn up and tossed out political norms. He did so with that amazing 2016 presidential campaign. He’s doing so yet again by attracting a potentially huge field of possible foes who would challenge his effort to win a second term.

Trump was elected president in the first campaign for public office he ever sought. His entire adult life has been centered on garnering wealth, promoting himself and assorted other matters related to self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement.

He is in some trouble politically. Questions are swirling around him. A special counsel might be wrapping up an investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system.

There might be a whole lot to reveal once Robert Mueller finishes his probe. Thus, we have this potentially gigantic field of Democratic Party challengers. There even might be some Republicans willing to challenge Trump in the 2020 GOP primary.

What is politically “normal” these days? Judging from the size of the field that might be shaping up against Donald Trump, I would say, um, there is not a single thing normal about the upcoming presidential campaign.