Tag Archives: Democrats

Both sides are digging in deeply

My aversion to making political predictions remains rock-solid, given my abysmal record in making them.

That said, this isn’t exactly a flash, but it seems more likely than ever that Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill aren’t going to change each other’s minds regarding the pending impeachment of Donald Trump.

We got a good look today at the intransigence on both sides. However, I am going steer clear of the “both siderism” argument here by declaring that congressional Republicans are those who need to have their heads examined.

William Taylor and George Kent sat before the House Intelligence Committee for about nine hours today. They answered questions from lawmakers on both sides. To my mind, they painted a clear picture of a president who sought foreign government assistance in helping his political future. He abused the power of his office. He has violated his oath of office. Donald Trump has committed an impeachable offense.

Republicans don’t see it that way. They say that even though what the president did was wrong, they don’t see his actions as impeachable. They are wrong. I believe the president deserves to be booted from office.

He likely won’t get the boot. The House impeachment will send this matter to the Senate. Republicans control the upper chamber. To convict the president of a crime against the Constitution would require a flip of 20 GOP senators. Most of them won’t budge.

Therefore, we are entering a most frustrating element in this process. It is that both sides are digging in. They both think they’re right. However, in this debate there only can be one correct side.

In my view, the winning argument belongs to the Democrats.

GOP demands more transparency … then rejects it!

I must have missed something in the translation.

Congressional Republicans have spent the better part of the past month or so trashing their Democratic colleagues because, they say, Democrats are conducting “secret” impeachment inquiry hearings into the conduct of Donald J. Trump.

Democrats are not doing anything in secret. Republican members of Congress have been taking part right along with Democrats as witnesses are deposed in private sessions.

So then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed suddenly this past week to hold a vote of the full House of Representatives to formalize the impeachment inquiry. The result of the vote will launch the public portion of the inquiry.

Yes, committees will open their hearings up to the public. Americans of all stripes will get to witness the hearings on TV in real time.

However, the vote that the House approved Thursday didn’t collect a single Republican vote. Not a one of ’em decided to endorse the public inquiry. What gives with that?

I feel the need to remind y’all that the vote in the House was to formalize the inquiry. It was not an impeachment vote. That will come later. Then again — even though it is highly remote — an impeachment vote might not occur. Suppose most of the House decides that they lack the evidence they need to decide on articles of impeachment.

I know. That seems so distant these days, given the mountain of evidence that is piling up that Donald Trump sought personal political favors from a foreign government. That is against the law and it violates the oath the president took. It’s impeachable, man!

Back to my original thought: If congressional Republicans demand more transparency in these hearings, why didn’t they vote for the measure that the Democratic House speaker laid at their feet?

Secrecy? What secrecy in impeachment probe?

Donald Trump and his Republican allies are yapping about “secrecy” in the impeachment inquiry underway in the House of Representatives.

They are all wet. They are dead wrong. They are blathering out of both sides of their mouths.

House committees are meeting behind closed doors. There is nothing “secret” about what’s going as they take depositions from witnesses with information to share regarding whether the president has committed potentially impeachable offenses.

All the committees are staffed fully by Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress. Their staffs are present, too. GOP lawmakers are able to ask questions of the witnesses, just as their Democratic colleagues are doing so.

What’s more, they are operating under rules established in 2015 by a GOP-led congressional majority.

These hearings are taking place the way the Watergate hearings commenced in 1973 and the way the “Benghazi hearings” occurred in 2012. House members took testimony in private then flung the doors open for the public to see and hear for itself much of what had been discussed in private.

Yet the Republicans are bitching about what they contend is an “illegal” impeachment inquiry. Give it a break, ladies and gentlemen of the right wing.

There will be a public moment or two of reckoning to take place. The House is going to open its doors in due course, possibly quite soon, for the public to see for itself what it is learning.

I am one American who is willing and quite anxious to see and hear what is occurring. I know the House will do what it has done before and what it is doing now under the rules it has established.

Republican attacks on the process seek to divert attention away from congressmen and women are examining. The process doesn’t worry me. What gives me pause and deep concern is what the process is going to produce.

They’re ‘joint appearances’

Dan Rather had it right years ago when he was a CBS News anchor.

He refused to call these political encounters featuring two or more candidates for public office “debates.” He referred to them — and perhaps he still does — as “joint appearances.”

So it is tonight when 10 Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder on a stage in Houston. They’ll field questions from ABC News broadcast journalists.

They aren’t participating in what we learned in high school and college as debates.

All of these events, and those that occurred for election cycles dating back to the dawn of the Television Age, have been simply “joint appearances.”

I concede that I have lapsed into using the term “debate” to describe these events. It’s easier to type than “joint appearances.” That’s my bad. It’s an excuse, not a reason to misidentify what we’ve been watching since 1960.

This might seem trivial. I’m just going to refrain from this moment forward from referring to these televised events as debates … when they’re merely joint appearances.

Spare us the ‘I don’t care’ mantra, Mr. POTUS

Whatever you do, Mr. President, please spare the nation the empty blathering about how you “don’t care” about the Democratic joint appearance featuring the top 10 contenders seeking to beat your brains out in the November 2020 election.

We all know you’ll be camped in front of a TV set tonight while the Democrats stand on that stage in Houston. You’ll have your texting device at the ready. You’ll be firing off Twitter messages every few minutes. You’ll be fixated on what these folks have to say about each other, but mostly about you.

Hey, I no longer begrudge you for your (over)use of Twitter. I have become accustomed to it, now that you’ve been a politician for the past four years. Your introduction of Twitter as a policy pronouncement forum admittedly caught me by surprise. Now that you’ve been in office, though, it’s the “new normal” not only for you, but for all politicians/public figures of every possible stripe.

I just implore you to keep your trap shut. Stop saying things you don’t mean, such as that you don’t care about what the Democrats are saying, or that their criticism of you doesn’t matter.

Of course it does! It’s why you keep up these idiotic Twitter barrages!

Rep. Taylor targets those ‘socialist Democrats’

I keep wanting to give my brand new member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, the benefit of the doubt.

The Plano Republican, though, keeps testing my magnanimous attitude.

He recently released a poll that he said suggests that 65 percent of Democrats think positively of “socialism.” He then goes on to say that Texas Democrats who seek to turn Texas into a battleground state in 2020 need to be stopped. He says Democrats want to create a socialist state, they want to junk the economic system that has given the nation its status as the world’s top economic power.

I think the young congressman is letting his GOP zeal get in the way of his better judgment.

I had heard earlier this year how he had forged good relationships with Democrats with whom he serves in Congress. I appreciate his bipartisan approach to legislating; I do not appreciate his efforts to demonize Democrats who — in my view — love this country just as much as he does.

Then again, that’s just me. He offends my own bias.

It might be too much to hope Rep. Taylor will tone it all down once he gets to know his congressional colleagues a little better.

Then again, my hope springs eternal.

Wait for GOP to undermine Mueller while Dems seek the truth

First I will acknowledge my partisan bias. I tilt to the left; I tend to favor Democratic candidates over Republicans; I believe in good government, even if it requires expansive government.

Now, I want to offer a word of caution over what the nation is likely to hear Wednesday when former special counsel Robert Mueller III testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Congressional Democrats are going to seek to pull information out of Mueller that explains what he wrote in that 448-page report he filed about allegations of collusion and obstruction of justice regarding Russian election hackers in 2016.

They are going to get Mueller to answer serious questions about his probe into collusion with the Russians. They want him to purge the notion that his probe “exonerated” Donald Trump of collusion and obstruction of justice. Trump has been saying he was cleared. Mueller’s written report says quite the opposite. The nation needs to hear Mueller say it out loud and clearly, that he did not exonerate Trump of any wrongdoing.

What will be the GOP strategy? They’ll seek to undermine Mueller. Republican lawmakers will try to label Mueller as a Democratic partisan who hired Democratic partisans to join his legal team. They will undercut the former FBI director. They will seek to turn the spotlight away from Trump and turn directly onto Mueller. They will seek to declare that Mueller lacked “sufficient evidence” to level any formal charges, which if you think about it is an admission that he had evidence. Just not enough of it.

I will listen more intently to what the committee Democrats ask of Mueller. Sure, I’ll listen to Republican congressmen and women seek to undermine this man’s impeccable integrity.

I want to learn something and I hope that happens when Robert Mueller finishes talking to the congressional committees … and to the nation.

POTUS lays out his re-election strategy in stark terms

Voters should have no doubt — none whatsoever — about the strategy Donald J. Trump will employ as he seeks re-election as president of the United States.

It will be to talk only to his base and to say to rest of the country — the roughly 60 percent of us who detest this individual — you all may go straight to hell!

Trump fired off those hideous tweets about the four congresswoman, all of whom are women of color. He told them if they don’t like it in this country they are welcome to return to where they came from. Oh, wait! Three of them were born in the United States; the fourth emigrated here when she was 12 from Somalia. They’re all U.S. citizens.

Their sin! They disagree with Trump’s policies, which makes ’em America haters, in POTUS’s view. Indeed, on Tuesday he acknowledged that, too, saying that because they disagree with him that they hate the United States.

Hmm. Ponder that for a moment. Did that mean when Trump campaigning for president and he was calling out President Obama’s policies and the individuals who crafted them as “stupid” that he, too, “hated America”?

Trump laid down all his cards, though, when asked whether he should be alarmed that white supremacists are in league with his statements about the four House members. He said he doesn’t care about that because “a lot of Americans agree with me.”

There … you … go!

He will seek to energize his base of supporters, seek to demonize his foes. Trump will continue his Divide and Conquer Strategy in 2020, just as he was able to do successfully in 2016.

He justifies the racist Twitter tirade because many Americans agree with him. With that statement, he all but acknowledges that he has decided against expanding his base, that he will not reach out to other Americans, that he will do nothing unify a divided nation.

He will enrage Democrats, pander to Republicans. Oh, and look for him to seek to eke out the same kind of victory he got in ’16: forgoing the actual vote in favor of an Electoral College squeaker.

This guy needs to be kicked out of office. Impeachment might not work. The only plausible strategy likely will have to involve ballots.

Which is it? More to come or ‘case closed’?

Maximum frustration has set in.

Robert S. Mueller III stood before the nation and spoke for nine minutes Wednesday, summarizing the contents of his 448-page report that he filed after a 22-month investigation into allegations of “collusion” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

What is the takeaway?

Well, if you’re on one side of the great divide, Mueller has “cleared” Donald Trump of everything, that the president’s campaign has been exonerated of collusion and obstruction of justice. Congressional Republicans have declared the case to be closed. White House staffers have said that Mueller has wiped the slate clean, that the president didn’t do a single thing wrong.

If you’re on the other side of that chasm, you heard Mueller say something quite different. You heard him say that the president committed crimes while obstruction the investigation into the collusion matter. Mueller said that he couldn’t bring an indictment  because Justice Department policy banned it. You heard him say it now falls on Congress to take whatever measures it deems necessary.

I heard the second thing. I am one of those who believes what I heard Mueller say as he delivered his nine-minute explainer. He said in precise language that if he and his team could determine that Trump didn’t obstruct justice that they would have “said so.” They didn’t say it. Thus, they have left the door open for Congress to act.

My frustration comes as I listen to the Trump apologists — and for the life of me I don’t understand how they still exist — dismiss the findings, saying that the president is “exonerated.”

Mueller did not clear the president of obstruction!

Must there be an immediate commencement of impeachment proceedings? No. I stand with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who says Congress has more work to do before starting down that dangerous patch.

However, my frustration is sure to build as I continue to hear the Trumpsters defend what I believe is an indefensible series of crimes.

Rep. Taylor quietly earns his stripes in Congress

The media and political pundits have become enamored of the flash and sizzle of a few Democratic rookie members of Congress this year. I refer, for example, to Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, both of whom attained instant celebrity status partly because of their big mouths and radical points of view.

The young man who represents my congressional district, Texas’s Third District, meanwhile has done something quite different in his first term in the House of Representatives.

Republican Van Taylor has quietly been working with Democrats, crossing the aisle, learning the ropes without making headlines.

I kind of wondered what has become of him since he took office in January. Now I know, according to a Dallas Morning News article.

The Morning News reports that Taylor, from Plano, is trying to govern on Capitol Hill the way he did as a Texas legislator. He has drawn praise from some of those dreaded Democrats who like the way he reaches out. Imagine that, if you can.

He is seeking to become a sort of “Mr. Bipartisan” as he navigates his way around the legislative maze.

Good for him.

I like that the new congressman is a veteran. He served for a decade in the Marine Corps, seeing duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, he succeeded a legendary congressman, fellow Republican Sam Johnson, who endured hideous torture as a Vietnam War prisoner for more than six years. So the Third Congressional District is being well-represented by another veteran with an understanding of the dangers of sending men and women into harm’s way.

As the Morning News reports, Taylor said military personnel “don’t get to pick your commanders,” nor do you ask what political party your comrades in arms belong to. You just do your job, he said.

So it should be in the halls of the nation’s Capitol.

If only the leaders on both sides of the aisle — and the leader in the White House — would follow Rep. Taylor’s advice.