Tag Archives: Democrats

GOP set to self-inflict a mortal wound?

The buzz around political circles is that Republican Party “insurgents” are set to declare civil war against the party “establishment” in their effort to elect Roy Moore of Alabama to the U.S. Senate.

Good luck with that one, folks.

Moore defeated Sen. Luther Strange this week in a GOP primary runoff. Moore now will face Doug Jones in a general election later this year to fill the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions left to become attorney general.

Civil war? Is it really going to happen?

Moore is no friend of the GOP higher-ups. He savaged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while defeating Strange, who by the way did the same thing. Both men sidled up to Donald Trump, who endorsed Strange.

Let the fight begin

Moore is a renegade, to be sure. He thinks gay people should be made criminals. He was twice removed as Alabama Supreme Court chief justice because (a) he installed and refused to remove a Ten Commandments monument on public property and (b) refused to honor a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared that gay marriage is legal in this country.

Now he’s gotten the support of former Trump senior strategist Steve Bannon, who’s back in charge of Breitbart News. Bannon is sounding the bugle to launch the civil war against that GOP establishment.

Bannon is old enough to remember the last time a major political party — the Democrats — engaged in such an internal conflict. It erupted in 1968 and continued through the 1972 presidential election. The Vietnam War divided Democrats. It was Hawks vs. Doves. The fight tore at the nation’s soul, as did the war itself.

Democrats lost the White House in 1968 and then got obliterated in 1972. The major recuperative factor that enabled the Democrats to regain the White House occurred when the Watergate break-in and subsequent presidential cover-up doomed President Nixon. They won the 1976 election, then got clobbered in 1980 and 1984. Oh, and let’s not forget about the primary battle that erupted in 1980 when Sen. Ted Kennedy challenged President Carter.

Civil war … again?

Bring it!

Republicans join Democrats in disarray

Republicans and Democrats have plenty of things of common. Both parties say they love America; they both say they want what’s best for the country … and they both are in a state of utter confusion and chaos.

Democratic disarray became evident when Hillary Rodham Clinton lost a presidential race in 2016 that she should have won handily. The party is still trying to find its footing moving toward the 2020 presidential campaign.

Now, though, the Republicans have exhibited signs of political schizophrenia. Down yonder in Alabama, the GOP this week nominated a true-blue lunatic as their candidate for the U.S. Senate; GOP nominee Roy Moore is poised to likely win the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, when he became U.S. attorney general.

Get a load of this: GOP primary voters picked Moore over Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to serve in the seat and who had been endorsed by Donald J. Trump, the nation’s Republican in chief.

I know that “lunatic” is a strong term to hang on a politician, but I think Moore fits the bill — politically speaking, of course. He served as ‘Bama’s Supreme Court chief justice but got into trouble twice with the state’s judicial ethics agency, first for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments display from public property and then for encouraging county clerks to disobey federal law after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

Just the other day he pulled a pistol out of his pocket — in front of a large political rally crowd — to show his support for the Second Amendment and he has said that “homosexual activity” should be deemed an illegal act.

As my dear late Mom would say, the guy is “nuttier than a fruitcake.” 

Moore’s nomination is giving Republican Party establishment types all sorts of heartburn, headaches, apoplexy … not to mention paroxysms of panic.

The president says he’ll campaign all-out for Moore’s election. I am wondering if that means he’ll forgo statements such as when he showed up in Alabama this past week and said he “might have made a mistake” by endorsing Sen. Strange.

Is POTUS getting it, finally?

Pity the president of the United States’s “base” of supporters. Well, actually, I don’t.

They’re suffering acute apoplexy because Donald J. Trump is beginning to show the faint signs of understanding something about the high office he occupies. It is that he even though he didn’t win a popular vote plurality in 2016, he won enough Electoral College votes to become elected and, therefore, he has to deal with the wishes and needs of those who voted against him.

Immigration is the issue of the day.

Trump is sounding like someone who wants to strike a deal with congressional Democrats and moderate congressional Republicans that would give so-called “Dreamers” a path to citizenship and/or permanent immigrant status. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order issued by President Barack Obama has been rescinded. Trump, though, says he wants to strike some sort of deal to protect the DACA residents, to keep them in the only country they’ve ever known.

You see, about 800,000 of these U.S. residents came here as children — some of the infants and toddlers — when their parents sneaked into the country illegally. The Trump “base” considers these folks “criminals.” Well, their parents broke U.S. immigration law. But does that mean we punish the children for the sins of their parents? Let’s get real here.

The president still wants to build that wall along our southern border. We’ll have to see how that struggle plays out with the aforementioned Democrats and moderate Republicans in Congress. In my mind, the wall is a non-starter. Mexico won’t pay for it. American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for something the president said would be financed by another government.

What’s more, the wall won’t make this country any safer from terrorists, and assorted criminals who want to come into this country to do grievous harm.

I don’t feel a single bit of sympathy for the Trumpkins who just can’t stand the thought of their guy working to fulfill the interests of the rest of the nation he now governs.

Anger will get POTUS nowhere — in a hurry

Presidents of the United States usually manage to cultivate friendships in the least-expected places.

Democrat Lyndon Johnson had strong alliances with Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen; Republican Ronald Reagan had a marvelous after-hours social friendship with Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill; Democrat Bill Clinton worked with Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich to produce a balanced federal budget; Republican George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy worked hand-in-glove to craft education reform legislation.

They all sought each other out in the search for common ground. It worked. The government found a way to get things done. The outreach extends in both directions.

That’s how good government works.

Donald Trump’s approach? Bash ’em all. Democrats and Republicans alike all feel the sting of Trump’s Twitter tirade. Criticize the president on policy differences? You’d better don your hard hat to avoid getting your bell rung by rhetorical abuse delivered — of course! — via Twitter.

Trump is at it again. He calls for “national unity.” Then unleashes yet another Twitter broadside.

The president is an angry man. His anger is threatening to stall everything in Congress. He has impugned the very people he needs: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain … and on and on it goes.

Everyone has his or her limits to their level of anger. How far is Donald Trump going to take his myriad feuds with members of both parties in Congress?

I’m going to presume we’ll know when it occurs when Trump’s anger hits the proverbial wall.

It helps to know what you don’t know

One of the gazillion things that have been said of Donald John Trump is that the president of the United States “doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.”

He seems to be the Bubble Boy of American politics, insulated from the effects of the barbs and boulders tossed at him. Or so he thinks.

Now comes former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich to offer a bit of specificity, which is that Trump doesn’t realize just how “isolated” he has become.

Critics of this blog will recall that I’ve dismissed Newt in the past as a know-nothing has-been, a philanderer who in the late 1990s made a big case against former President Clinton over his, um, philandering. 

On this one, though, Newt might be on to something. He said on Fox News: “On the Hill, he has far more people willing to sit to one side and not help him right now, and I think that he needs to recognize he’s taken a good first step with bringing in Gen. (John) Kelly (as chief of staff), but he needs to think about what has not worked.”

Trump’s term as president is in trouble. He has declared open warfare on fellow Republicans. Democrats detest him already, so they need zero push to resist every single thing he proposes. He cannot fill key deputy Cabinet posts, or senior White House staff jobs. The roster of federal judgeships remains largely vacant.

The president’s legislative agenda has high-centered. It has no traction. Tax reform is likely to get stalled. He won’t get the money he wants to build that wall along our southern border. Congressional leaders are going to increase the budgetary debt ceiling despite what the president says.

Trump once boasted that “I, alone” can fix what’s wrong.

No, Mr. President. You cannot. It is impossible.

He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know … which is dangerous not just for him, but for the country.

GOP silence is getting louder

You can understand that Democrats are angry with Donald J. Trump.

The president won an election he was supposed to lose to the Democratic Party nominee. Congressional Democrats haven’t gotten over it … yet!

Republicans, though, are demonstrating their angst and anger at Trump differently than their colleagues on the other side of the chasm.

They are staying quiet. More or less. A few congressional Republicans are speaking against the president, namely over his stated reaction to the Charlottesville mayhem. However, except for a few on the far right wing of the party, one is hearing damn little comment that even remotely resembles support for the president’s equating of Nazis and Klansmen to those who protested their march in Charlottesville.

If I were Donald Trump — and I am so glad to be far away from this guy — I would be worried to the max about the GOP silence. Trump has demonstrated already he doesn’t give a damn about Democrats; nor do Democrats, to be fair, give a damn about him. Now, though, he is providing evidence that he doesn’t care about Republicans, either; the GOP silence suggests to me the feeling is increasingly mutual.

Trump has gone after the Senate majority leader; he’s attacked GOP Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona; he lashes out at Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; he even attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, and a good friend of many in the Senate — on both sides of the aisle.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine now says she isn’t even sure Trump will be the party’s presidential nominee in 2020.

The Republican Party’s relative silence may deliver more damage to the president than the howling we’re getting from the other side.

Now for Main Event: The Donald vs. Mitch

It’s a rare event indeed when a president beset with unanimous opposition from the “other party” decides to declare virtual political war on someone who’s aligned with him in the same political party.

Donald John Trump Sr. is now tweeting his angry thoughts about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Here’s the best part: McConnell offered a perfectly reasonable, rational critique of the president’s difficulty in enacting legislation, while the president responds with a typically juvenile tweet.

I’m shaking and scratching my head at the same time.

McConnell noted that Trump is “new” to the political process, and said he set “excessive expectations” about how quickly he could enact his legislative agenda. The president’s newness is an honest assessment; the man had zero public service experience prior to running for president. He doesn’t understand government and doesn’t grasp the notion that effective governance is a team sport, that it requires the executive branch of government to work hand-in-glove with the legislative branch. It also requires pols from both parties to compromise while searching for common ground.

Good grief! McConnell could have said it much more harshly than he did. He sought instead to be the diplomat.

Trump fired back with that tweet reminding us that Congress had seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but still hadn’t gotten the job done. Trump’s allies in the right-wing media — namely Fox News commentator Sean Hannity — weighed in, calling for the Senate majority leader to resign.

The utterly ridiculous aspect of this is that Trump and McConnell supposedly are on the same team. The president needs McConnell to assist him in furthering his agenda. Is this how he intends to harvest that help, by continuing these attacks?

Meanwhile, the loyal opposition on the other side of the political chasm — congressional Democrats — are remaining quiet.

Smart.

Trump going to war with his ‘friends’

Donald J. Trump’s latest Twitter tirade takes aim at a most fascinating target: his fellow Republicans.

The president is now threatening reprisals against GOP members of Congress who fail to rise to his defense against growing questions about whether he broke the law while winning the presidency.

I guess I’m slow on the uptake. I am having difficulty imagining what in the world Trump hopes to accomplish by issuing these threats.

Some of his fellow Republicans are questioning the circumstances surrounding the president’s relationships with Russians who — according to U.S. intelligence experts — sought to meddle in our 2016 election.

“It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president is going to need these folks. All of them, it seems. Yet he keeps pounding away at those upon he must depend.

Congressional Democrats are long gone. They aren’t going to stand up for a single Trump initiative, nor will they give him a break on the Russia investigation taking shape within the special counsel’s office and on congressional committees.

Trump also wrote: “As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!”

This message has a ring of truth to it. Yes, Democrats are laughing as Trump and the Republicans keep tripping over themselves and each other while trying to fend off the criticism.

And what about the Russians? You’re damn right they’re laughing. They have accomplished their prime objectives, according to U.S. intelligence analysts: Their preferred candidate won the 2016 election and they also have managed to cast serious doubt on the integrity of the U.S. electoral system.

Listen up, Congress: Americans hate the health care ‘reform’

Dear Members of Congress,

Y’all are going home for a couple of weeks. Some of y’all are going to conduct town hall meetings with your constituents, your “bosses,” the folks who decide whether to vote for you — and whose money pays your salary.

I just got word of a new poll. It says that just 17 percent of Americans favor the Republican Senate version of a health care insurance overhaul. That’s about the same level of (non)support that the House of Representatives version got when the GOP caucus decided to send the issue over to the Senate.

At least one of your House colleagues, by the way, is declining to meet face to face with his bosses. That would be Republican Mac Thornberry. He’s my congressman. He decided a while back that he didn’t need to hear from just plain folks. The last so-called “town hall meeting” he had was with local business leaders, tycoons, pillars of the community. He wanted to inform them of his desire to see Congress shed some of the Obama administration’s regulations. I reckon he got a friendly reception.

But back to the point here.

That poll doesn’t bode well for the future of the GOP plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act — if House members and senators are going to heed its findings. If you truly are going to “represent” your constituents, then you need to rethink your approach. It cannot be a Republican-only effort. There appears to be a need to include Democrats in this process. Hey, I’ve heard some Democrats say in public that they want to work with their Republican “friends.” But the GOP leadership — so far — is having none of it.

The president calls the House health care plan “mean.” He said he could support a plan with “heart.” The Senate version appears to many of us to be as heartless as the House plan. It takes too much money from Medicaid and according to the Congressional Budget Office — I am sure you are now aware — the plan will cost 22 million Americans their health coverage over the next decade.

That’s not a plan with “heart,” you lawmakers.

Enjoy your time away from D.C. Have a good time over the Fourth of July. Celebrate this great nation’s birthday.

While you’re at home, though, listen carefully to what your constituents — your bosses — are telling you. You’ll learn something.

Who’s telling the truth, GOP or Democratic Senate leader?

I am certain today that I heard two diametrically opposed statements come from the mouths of the U.S. Senate’s top partisan leaders.

The Senate was going to vote this week on a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; then Senate Republicans said “no.” There won’t be a vote just yet. They balked because they don’t have the votes to approve it. They might not get the votes, either.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, said categorically that Democrats “aren’t interested” in working with Republicans to craft a new health care insurance bill.

There. We have that statement.

Less than an hour later, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, told reporters that Democrats “want to work” with Republicans.

OK. Who’s telling the truth? McConnell said Democrats aren’t interested. Schumer said the exact opposite.

I guess it depends on the partisan bias of those who heard the statements. McConnell said it in front of fellow Republicans; Schumer made his declaration in front of fellow Democrats.

I tend to believe Schumer. I would be my hope that Democrats would be willing to huddle with their GOP “friends” in the hope of finding some common ground with regard to what McConnell called a “complicated” piece of legislation.

The Senate will take up this matter after the Fourth of July recess.

As Lyndon Johnson would say, “Let us reason together.”