Tag Archives: Democrats

Donald J. Trump: classic, quintessential RINO

The chatter now about Donald J. Trump’s disgraceful performance this week in Helsinki deals with how Republicans in Congress are finally — finally! — beginning to condemn the president’s conduct.

It all seems to circle back to a question I keep asking myself and occasionally pose it publicly on this blog: How does the president command the loyalty of Republicans when he is the quintessential Republican In Name Only.

These same GOP loyalists are so damn quick to hurl epithets at other Republicans who deign to speak out against Trump. Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and, yes, Mitt Romney are now considered RINOs in the world according to the Trumpsters.

Two of the men I mention — Romney and McCain — were the party’s presidential nominees in 2012 and 2008, respectively. They aren’t RINOs.

As for Trump, I’ll refer to a point that one of my sons made this week. The president, he said, once was a pro-choice Democrat and a member of the Reform Party before he became a Republican.

My own view is that Trump lacks any ideological grounding. He doesn’t speak with any knowledge or eloquence about his party’s ideology. He has no moral basis.

So, he blathers in Helsinki about how he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin and disbelieves U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment about Russian election interference. Democrats, quite naturally, are quick to condemn the president.

Republicans? They pull their punches. They speak in milquetoast terms: Trump’s remarks were, um, unfortunate, they were ill-advised.

They continue to rally around a guy who isn’t even a real Republican.

Go … figure.

It’s official: Hell has frozen over

I know I have said this before, so forgive me for repeating myself.

Except this time I am sure of what I am about to say: It’s official. Hell has frozen over. Completely.

How do I know that? Because one of the deans of conservative commentary, George Will — a man who for years was associated with the Republican Party — is urging voters to cast their ballots for (gulp!) Democrats.

Will leads his latest column this way: Amid the carnage of Republican misrule in Washington, there is this glimmer of good news: The family-shredding policy along the southern border, the most telegenic recent example of misrule, clarified something. Occurring less than 140 days before elections that can reshape Congress, the policy has given independents and temperate Republicans — these are probably expanding and contracting cohorts, respectively — fresh if redundant evidence for the principle by which they should vote.

Not long ago, Will decided to leave the Republican Party. He is now an “independent” voter. He was a Fox News contributor. Since leaving the GOP, he has gravitated toward other broadcast and cable news networks, where he also contributes to their commentary.

Will dislikes Donald J. Trump. His description of “Republican misrule in Washington” is a direct condemnation of the leadership provided by the president.

Read Will’s column here.

Will wants voters to cast their ballots for Democrats in the 2018 midterm election. He wants congressional power to swing back to Democrats, hoping that they can act as a bulwark against the “carnage” that Trump has created in Washington.

Will writes: In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him.

Granted, the idea of a Democratically controlled Capitol Hill doesn’t thrill the columnist. He refers to that possibility this way: A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House.

Still, the very idea that George Will, of all people, would advocate such a rebellion means only one thing: Hell has frozen over.

Nothing ‘phony’ about these tales of woe, Mr. POTUS

I am slapping myself silly out of frustration, outrage and anger at the president’s utter ignorance.

He fired off this little ditty this morning via Twitter:

We must maintain a Strong Southern Border. We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections. Obama and others had the same pictures, and did nothing about it!

Where do I begin? Or end, for that matter?

Democrats aren’t telling “phony stories of sadness and grief,” Mr. President. Yet that’s the message that Donald J. Trump sought to deliver.

No, sir. Nothing “phony” is going on at the nation’s southern border. The children are in distress. So are their parents. Yes, they should enter the United States legally. On that point, I am with the president. However, their reasons for seeking entry are as complex as the problem that has erupted.

Many of them are fleeing brutality, gang violence, poverty. They want a better life for their families. Why is that so difficult for the president to understand? He implies through his tweets and other public statements that every illegal immigrant is “infesting” this country intent on doing something evil. He suggests they are bringing “crime” into the United States.

This is nothing short of a disgraceful display of bald-faced prejudice and bigotry.

Phony stories of sadness? Hardly, Mr. President. These tragedies are real and they need answers — not recrimination.

The national mood is getting more sour by the day

Am I feeling the burn out there?

The national mood, which wasn’t great prior to the 2016 presidential election, appears to be worsening.

Yep. I’m sure of it, actually.

Donald Trump Sr. pledged to unify the country after being elected president. How has he done? Uh, terribly. Maybe that’s just me, but I don’t think so.

Yes, congressional Democrats are stunned that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost to this guy. She should have won in a landslide. She didn’t. Democrats haven’t gotten over it … yet!

Now, that takes us to the guy who won. How has he done in the “gracious winner” department? Let’s see. He keeps harping on his record-breaking victory, which it wasn’t. Trump keeps reminding us how Democrats supposedly favor things like high crime, high taxes, open borders … those kinds of things. He won’t meet with Democrats to discuss legislative priorities.

The president has continued to stick his thumb in the eye of his foes. He yaps, yammers and yelps about how it’s everyone else’s fault that his legislative agenda gets stalled.

He disparages the FBI, the Department of Justice and the special counsel (Robert Mueller) who has been given the task of finding out whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our electoral process.

And now …

The president has implemented an executive policy of “zero tolerance” on our southern border. The policy allows for the separating of children from their parents. Educators, clergy, human services experts, lawmakers (many from his own Republican Party) are aghast at the policy. They call it institutionalized “child abuse.” Four former first ladies have said the same thing independently about the policy: that it is inhumane.

There is a virtual uprising seemingly about to occur.

Trump’s response? He calls the children and their parents a threat to our nation. Hey, what about those Russian goons who meddled in our election, Mr. President? When are you going to drop the hammer on them? Ever?

Meanwhile, the nation is more divided than ever. Americans are growing angrier by the day.

Hey, it occurs to me yet again that the Russians’ attempt to sow discord and disunion … is working!

Here’s your dismal voter turnout

You want ridiculous voter turnouts? I’ve got it for you right here.

Potter County Republicans today had to decide three key judgeships in runoff contests. The runoff election attracted a “whopping” 6.8 percent of registered voters. Pam Sirmon was elected to the 320th State District Court bench, while Walt Weaver and Matt Hand were elected to the county’s two Court at Law benches.

Important? Yes! But not so much that it would attract more than a tiny sliver of the GOP voters who cast ballots this past March in the party primary.

Hey, it gets worse!

In neighboring Randall County, a grand total of 1 percent of the voters took part in the runoff election. Why only 1 percent? Well, there were no local runoffs.

But, hey, the county’s few Democrats got to vote for their party’s nominee for governor. Randall County Democrats “poured” out, with just 474 ballots cast. I addressed this issue already in an earlier blog post. I didn’t vote in the Randall County runoff because the one GOP race that interested me — the Texas Senate District 31 contest — was decided in the primary. I couldn’t vote in the Democratic runoff for governor because I didn’t vote in the Democratic primary in March.

So I understand why the turnout in Randall County was so pitiful.

Still, with just 474 votes cast in the entire county that has more than 85,000 registered voters, I am left to ask: Is this the best we can do?

Federal courts aren’t ‘political’? Guess again

The nation’s founders had the right idea when they created a Constitution that called for lifetime appointments of federal judges.

Part of their intent was to take politics out of the judicial system. Sadly, that intent has been lost. It’s gone. The federal bench is, um, highly political.

Case in point: U.S. Senate Republicans today filled a federal judgeship they kept empty for the past six years during the Obama administration. They voted 49-46 — along party lines — to seat Michael Brennan on the Seventh U.S. Court of Appeals. President Obama had nominated Victoria Nourse to that bench in 2010, but it was held up by Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (pictured above), who exercised a Senate rule that allows a home-state senator to block anyone he or she chooses; Nourse pulled her nomination in 2012.

Indeed, one of the consequences of our federal elections is the federal judiciary and who gets seated. Presidential elections are particularly consequential in that regard. Presidents have the power to set judicial courses for generations through their appointment powers. You’d better believe, too, that politics matters when the Senate considers who to confirm or reject when they exercise their “advise and consent” authority.

Are the federal courts more political than, say, state courts? Hardly. In Texas, we elect judges on partisan ballots. Judicial philosophy or legal credentials take a back seat to which party under which the candidate is running, or so it appears at times in Texas.

The founders sought when they were creating a new nation to deliver a system of justice that would be free of political pressure. I only wish their dream would have come true. More than two centuries later, we hear laypeople/politicians second-guessing judicial rulings — especially when they lack any base of knowledge of the law upon judges make their decision.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way when the nation’s founders were building a nation “of laws, not of men.”

Partisan labels should not elect judges

My wife brought up a subject today that got me fired up. Her question played straight into my wheelhouse, hit me with an issue against which I have been ranting for, oh, many decades.

Partisan election of judges. That’s the issue.

“Isn’t it just wrong to say ‘Wade Overstreet, Republican for judge'”? she asked as we drove past an Overstreet for judge lawn sign.

Yes, it’s wrong. It’s also legal in Texas.

I have not a single thing against Wade Overstreet, who’s running for a judgeship in Potter County. My wife and I are unable to vote in that runoff election, given that we’re registered to vote in Randall County.

I do have plenty of things against the way we elect judges in Texas. My first option would be to go to an appointment process, followed by a retention election. It’s a voting policy used in several other states. The governor appoints a judge, who then stands for retention after a term; voters then get to decide whether to retain the judge or demand that the governor finds someone else.

My second option would be to elect judges on non-partisan ballots. Get rid of Republican and Democratic judges.

I have asked judicial candidates for many years — back in the day when I worked as an opinion journalist in Beaumont and Amarillo — a fundamental question: Can you explain to me the difference between Democratic and Republican justice?

My wife noted with her usual intuitiveness that judges’ jobs are to follow the law, interpret it without regard to politics.

Indeed, one can assess a judge’s judicial philosophy — whether he or she is too harsh or too lenient in bench rulings — without the crutch of a partisan label.

There once was a time when competent Republican judges got the voters’ boot because they were of the “wrong” party in a state that once leaned heavily Democratic. The state flipped from Democrat to Republican about two decades ago. Now we see competent Democratic judges and judicial candidates getting the same treatment from voters who punish them for being members of the wrong party.

It’s wrong. Sadly, it won’t change likely within my lifetime.

GOP punched in the gut with this apparent loss

They haven’t called it yet, but the Republican Party is likely to get tied up in knots over this loss of a key congressional election.

Conor Lamb leads Rick Saccone (pictured) by a few hundred votes. My hunch is that they’ll recount the ballots cast in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.

Lamb has declared victory; Saccone isn’t conceding anything just yet. Saccone had better get his concession speech ready.

This one is a serious rejection of the nation’s top Republican, Donald John Trump, who spoke (more or less) for Saccone in the waning days of the campaign. He went to western Pennsylvania and spent more than an hour talking about himself, saying damn near nothing about the guy he was there to endorse.

Hey, that’s what narcissists do. Isn’t that right?

As for Lamb, he isn’t calling his apparent victory a referendum on Trump. I’ll disagree with that one, young man. I believe it is.

Trump won the district in 2016 by more than 20 percentage points. The 18th had been trending Republican for years. It’s previous representative is a Republican who had to resign because of a sex scandal.

So, it’s fair to wonder: Does this apparent Democratic victory signal a trend that will carry through the year in the midterm election?

Republicans had better believe it will. My guess is that they have just received a major punch in the gut.

As Politico reports: “During a closed-door conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, House Republican leaders said that Tuesday’s special election, where Democrat Conor Lamb is narrowly leading, could portend a monster Democratic year.”

If that “monster” awakens fully, then I believe we are heading for a period of extreme political tumult.

Trump would ‘love a shutdown’?

Donald Trump would “love” a shutdown of the federal government.

He’d love it. He said it many times today during a White House meeting on gang violence. The president, quite naturally, blames Democrats if a shutdown occurs. Democrats, he said, oppose border security; they oppose benefits for the military. Democrats are nasty. They’re “un-American” because they didn’t clap for him while he delivered “really good news” during the president’s State of the Union speech the other day.

The president really should not want a shutdown of the government, as Republican U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock told him during the gang violence meeting. “Both sides” learned that a shutdown hurts them, and the public doesn’t like it one damn bit, she said.

Ah, but the president still would “love” a shutdown.

This is how you “tell it like it is,” right? Trump is the first president in my memory who has said — in effect — that he would favor a shutting down of the government he was elected to administer.

To what end do we close offices and deny taxpayers the full service from the government for which they pay? To build a wall across our southern border.

This is not how you govern, Mr. President. Honest.

It’s all about compromise, stupid!

Good government requires compromise.

Past presidents have known it. So have members of Congress — from both political parties. The rigid ideologues — either on the left or the right — might sleep well at night knowing that they hold firm to their principles. But the rest of us pay the price.

So it is with the current government shutdown that commenced at midnight Friday.

As I understand it, Democratic leaders in Congress have agreed to give Donald Trump money to build that wall he wants to erect on our southern border. They have demanded something in return: a commitment to avoiding the deportation of thousands of U.S. residents who came to this country as children when their parents brought them here illegally.

OK, then. Republicans get the wall; Democrats get to keep the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals rule.

Both sides give a little to the other.

Isn’t that how it works? Sure it is!

Meanwhile, the president who touts himself as a supreme deal-maker keeps changing his mind. He wants a deal to protect DACA recipients because he loves them. Then he feels the heat from the ideologues within his Republican Party who want to toss them out.

As for Democratic leaders, they, too are feeling the heat from their ideologues who want nothing to do with a wall.

I tend to favor the lefties on this one. However, I want the government to reopen fully. I also want compromise to rule the day. I want our elected leaders to do the job we sent them to Washington to do: I want them to govern effectively.

I do not believe in rigid ideology. I am now 68 years of age. The older I get the more room I seek to maneuver for the cause of good government.

Give a little. Declare victory. Open the doors to our government — for which we are paying good money!