Tag Archives: Democrats

McCain tributes remind us of what has gone wrong

As I have watched the various tributes pouring in to honor the memory of U.S. Sen. John McCain, I am reminded of what some folks might say is the obvious.

I am reminded that as the men and women spoke of the late senator’s principled passion that much of the principle has been decimated in the name of partisan passion.

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke of his “love” for his political adversary. He spoke of a friendship that transcended partisan differences. The Democratic ex-VP talked about how McCain’s devotion to principle superseded his Republican credentials.

Indeed, the same message came from Senate Majority Leader (and fellow Republican) Mitch McConnell, who today echoed much of what Biden said the previous day. McConnell noted that McCain could be your strongest ally or your most ferocious political foe. Indeed, McConnell and McCain had their differences over campaign finance reform — for which McCain fought and McConnell opposed.

What is missing today? The sense that political opponents need not be “enemies.” McCain could be irascible, grouchy, in your face, profane. He assumed all those postures because he believed strongly in whatever principle for which he was fighting.

Almost to a person, those who memorialized Sen. McCain reminded us of how it used to be in Washington and how it could become once again. If only the late senator’s political descendants would follow his lead.

I have been uplifted by the tributes to this American hero and political titan. I also am saddened by the comparison to the political standards he set to what has become of them in the here and now.

You want ‘contact’ in politics? Wait for midterm election result

The late great U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas used to call politics a “contact sport,” especially as it was practiced in the Lone Star State.

With the midterm election approaching quickly, it appears as though the political climate in Washington is going to get a good bit more “contact oriented” than it already has become — if that is possible.

I offer this bit of information with extreme caution. The “experts” who suggest that Democrats are looking more likely to take control of at least one congressional chamber, the House of Representatives, also “predicted” Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the 45th president of the United States.

They missed that one.

Suppose, though, that the Democratic Party does take the gavel from the Republicans. What do you suppose will happen?

Let me ponder that.

We must not rule out impeachment of the current president of the United States. Donald Trump is facing a bushel basket of trouble in the months after the midterm election.

What’s more, there well might be a lot of congressional hearings as newly constituted House committees — with Democratic chairs — summoning witness after witness to look into whatever they damn well want to examine.

Yep, payback is a bitch — ain’t it?

Republicans saw fit to examine that matter called “Benghazi” seemingly forever. Then we had that email matter. The Benghazi probe produced nothing incriminating, nor did the email kerfuffle.

So, what might the Democrats do in return?

It’s anyone’s guess. Go ahead and speculate, if you wish.

I’m betting it’s going to get a lot less fun for Republicans once the smoke clears from Midterm Election Day — presuming, of course, that the experts are right … this time!

If they are, get ready for a whole lot of blocking and tackling in the nation’s capital.

Once again: What damage has Brennan done?

A few congressional Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues in criticizing Donald Trump for revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

The president’s reason? Brennan has acted “erratically” with his criticism of the administration.

I need to pose this question one more (and perhaps final) time: What has the ex-CIA boss said that has damaged national security?

The Hill has reported on the reaction. Read about it here.

Yes, he’s been harsh. And, yes, he has been vocal in his criticism of the president. Perhaps he should dial it back a bit, but he need not go silent just because Donald Trump dislikes the nature of his criticism.

The president’s reaction is, in the words of some Democratic members of Congress, the stuff of a “banana republic.”

Hoping for a big-time flip

This blog has revealed my partisan leaning. I won’t back away from it. I tilt more toward the Democratic Party than to the Republican Party. You know that already.

As such, my hope for the 2018 midterm election is that Congress flips from Republican control to Democratic control.

Why speak to this now, at this moment? They’re electing a new member of Congress tonight in central Ohio. It’s been a strongly GOP district since the 1980s. It was represented once by one of my favorite Republicans, Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

It well might flip to the Democrats.

Looking at the bigger picture, I want Democrats to take control of the House and Senate as a check against the goofball who serves as president of the United States, Republican (In Name Only) Donald John Trump.

I call Trump a RINO because he has captured the GOP in a way that I cannot yet fathom. His allies in Congress are providing effective political cover for a man who as near as I can tell adheres to no known Republican ideology. We have a cult of personality at work here and I believe it is important for Democrats to take back at least one congressional chamber to act as a hedge against the goofy pronouncements that pour out of POTUS’s mouth … and from his Twitter account.

Ohio’s 12th Congressional District might provide a harbinger of what could happen later this election year.

I think I’ll watch the returns and hope for what I consider to be the best.

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.”