Tag Archives: Democrats

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.

Not sure how all this ends well for POTUS

I just don’t know how Donald John Trump’s stonewalling Congress is going end well for the president of the United States.

He is digging in on all fronts. No witnesses should testify before congressional committees; no documents are forthcoming; he wants to stop the special counsel, Robert Mueller, from testifying before Congress.

How does any or all of it not constitute an obstruction of justice?

The battle is coming. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler plans to file contempt of Congress complaints against Attorney General William Barr. Where it goes, of course, is anyone’s guess.

Unlike many previous presidents, this one seems resistant to “compartmentalizing” these relationships. He flies into rages at any challenge of the legitimacy of his election in 2016. He takes quite personally any criticism of any sort, from any source.

He has declared all-out war against Congress. He doesn’t understand, let alone appreciate, that the legislative branch of government has just as much power as the executive branch.

The collusion issue is a goner. Obstruction of justice remains in play.

Congress is seeking to assert its role in governmental oversight. One would think its Republican members — who comprise most of the Senate and a healthy minority of the House — would be willing to stand up for the legislative branch’s role. They aren’t. They are rolling over for the president.

Again, I must ask: How in the name of good government does this end well for the president?

This Democratic congresswoman must be a colossus

It is astounding to the max how a young rookie member of Congress can attain superstar status even before she takes her oath of office.

Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez is that particular member. She now has become a chant theme at Republican rallies. Conservatives took great joy in bashing her continually at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Her name is everywhere, along with her face.

She’s a staple on cable news talk shows, late-night comics’ shows. You name the place, she’s there.

AOC, as she now is known, seems to be defying certain laws of physics by managing to be everywhere seemingly at once.

I do not get this.

There once was a time when freshman members of the House and Senate had to blunder and stumble their way around Capitol Hill. We didn’t hear their voices. We didn’t know what they sounded like.

Social media have tossed that truism into the crapper. Now some of these newbies become instant celebrities. AOC is the latest of them. Oh, we’ve got some more congressional rookies, too, but AOC has become the poster child, the whipping girl for Republicans and other conservatives to thrash. She is a socialist; she has pitched a number of interesting ideas, some of which are wacky, others need some attention.

And . . . yes, she’s whiffed on some statements, such as not knowing about the three branches of government. Her critics have pounced like big cats on their prey.

At a rally last night in Grand Rapids, Mich., the chant rang out “AOC sucks!” which caused Don Trump Jr. to stand there with a crap-eatin’ grin on his mug. Oh, I almost forgot: Don Jr. is a know-nothing, so it doesn’t matter a damn bit what he thinks about anything or anyone.

Back to my point, which is that the astounding presence of these congressional rookies on center stage gives them far more influence than they deserve.

Congressional toxicity is flaring to dangerous level

So . . . just how toxic is the atmosphere in Congress, if not in all of Washington, D.C.?

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff provided a critical example.

Committee Republicans today demanded that Schiff resign as chairman of the committee. Donald Trump has called on Schiff to quit Congress altogether. GOP Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway of Midland said Schiff no longer has the standing to lead the committee and said he should resign immediately.

Schiff has been a stern critic of Donald Trump. He maintains that the president’s campaign did collude with Russians despite special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings to the contrary.

Schiff then took the microphone after Conaway’s lecture and gave it right back to his GOP colleagues. He held firm on his assertion that there was collusion. “You might say that’s all OK,” Schiff said. “You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it is immoral, I think it is unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt.”

Yes, it is highly toxic on Capitol Hill. The mood between Congress and the White House is equally toxic.

Why mention it? Because it seems different now than any era I can recall. President Bush 43 managed to maintain working relationships with the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy; President Reagan famously befriended House Speaker Tip O’Neill, his after-hours drinking buddy; President Bush 41 also maintained strong friendships with House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski; President Clinton managed to work with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to craft a balanced federal budget.

These days we hear Donald Trump calling Adam Schiff “pencil neck.” He is throwing out “traitorous” and “treasonous” terms to describe Democrats behavior during the special counsel’s probe into alleged collusion; and, yes, Democrats have tossed those terms at the White House, too.

Good government requires leaders of both political parties to find common ground. Dear reader, there ain’t a bit of commonality to be found these days. Anywhere!

It is going to get more divisive, more toxic the deeper we plow into the 2020 election season. After that remains anyone’s guess.

It is no fun — none at all — watching these men and women tear each others’ lungs out. Too many important matters are going unresolved because of the outright hatred one senses among politicians across the aisle that divides them.

Media are ‘all Democrats, all liberals’? Eh?

Joseph DiGenova is sounding like a crackpot.

The former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia is a frequent contributor to the Fox News Channel, the conservative-leaning cable network that gives Donald Trump all the support it can muster.

DiGenova is right at home with the network.

Yet he goes on the air and declares there’s a “civil war” commencing in the United States. Then, in a fit of hilarious irony, he declares that the media are “all Democrat” and “all liberal.” He claims the media are hell bent on destroying Donald Trump and his presidency.

Do you see the irony?

DiGenova is a contributor to a key player in what conservatives like to call “the mainstream media.” Yep, I consider Fox to be part of the media “mainstream,” given the network’s popularity among a large segment of Americans.

So, why is DiGenova blathering about the media being “all Democrat”?

No, sir. They are not!

Tax returns? Are they about to surface — finally?

Donald J. Trump’s mysterious tax returns might be about to see the light of day. Finally!

More than two years ago the one-time real estate mogul and reality TV celebrity announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. He then declined to do what other major-party candidates had done since 1976, which is release their personal income tax returns for public scrutiny.

Trump cited a “routine” tax audit. The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t comment on specific audits, but it said immediately that an audit doesn’t preclude release of returns.

That didn’t persuade Trump to do the right thing. He has kept ’em out of public view.

Now comes the House of Representatives with its new Democratic majority. The House Ways and Means Committee appears primed to get those returns, hold hearings and then will seek to release them. The president is likely to fight that effort — even though he says he has nothing to hide!

Wow! What do you think about that?

Republicans suggest Democrats are applying a double standard, that they aren’t demanding it of over presidential candidates. Others, though, have released those returns. Only the president has declined to follow a 40-plus-year political custom.

Think for just a moment:

  • Does a “routine” tax audit drag on for years? No. It doesn’t.
  • Has the president ever produced a letter from the IRS notifying him of an audit? I haven’t seen it. Have you?
  • If the president says there’s nothing to hide, no wrongdoing to be discovered, why doesn’t he release them? Well, I believe he is lying.

That leaves us with his tax returns still in hiding.

The House Ways and Means Committee says it is seeking the tax returns simply for “oversight” purposes, that it isn’t motivated by any “gotcha” effort. Whatever the motives, it is important — for the sake of the transparency that Trump advocates — for the public to see precisely how the nation’s top elected official has earned his fortune.

The president calls it “harassment.” He blames Democrats for conducting a witch hunt. He insists he has done nothing wrong, just as he said that there’s no evidence of “collusion” with Russian election thieves. His behavior and bullying of special counsel Robert Mueller III suggest something quite different.

I remain one of those nosy-Nora Americans who has every right to insist on seeing how the president of the United States has earned his fortune, whether he has followed the letter of the law.

Let us remember this critical point: The president works for us. We are the bosses. Not him.

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.

‘AOC’ makes an immediate impression

There once was a time when rookie members of Congress languished in the shadows. They weren’t to be taken seriously by their colleagues. They weren’t to be held up for praise by their friends or condemnation by their critics.

They needed to learn the location of the restrooms on Capitol Hill. Then they could be taken seriously, or so it used to go.

Then came social media. Rookie members of Congress are able to become immediate superstars.

One of them has rocketed to the top of the public relations totem pole. Her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a newly minted Democrat from New York City.

She is so famous, in fact, that she now is being referred to as “AOC.” Yep, she’s up there with JFK, RFK, MLK, LBJ, FDR. This young woman, all of 29 years of age, has held public office for less than one whole month.

Here she is. She is the talk of D.C. She is in huge demand on TV and radio talk shows. She is a self-proclaimed socialist. She wants to tax the wealthy, redistribute wealth around the country; she favors Medicare for All and single-payer health insurance.

Why do you suppose she commands all the attention? Forgive me for mentioning this, but AOC is, shall we say, quite “telegenic,” which is a politically correct way of alluding to her physical attractiveness. Yes, she is well-educated and speaks well, too.

I am inclined — given my own political leaning — to listen to what she has to say. However, I am in serious head-scratching mode about AOC. How in the name of political seniority does a rookie member of Congress such as this one command everyone’s attention?

She has angered not just Republicans but also “establishment” Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is thought to be miffed that she occasionally challenges the elders within the Democratic Party.

Her faces shows up as a social media meme. I get these posts on my Facebook news feed from conservative friends who delight in ridiculing her occasional misstatements.

She is one of 435 members of the House of Representatives. I don’t believe she represents a serious threat to establishment politicians of both parties . . . at least not yet. She needs some serious seasoning. AOC needs to get a firmer grasp on how the system works on Capitol Hill.

I am just puzzled at how this young politician has thrust herself onto the center of a large and crowded political stage.

2019 won’t see a return of civility

Civility and Politics Political Cartoon

Only the most naïve Pollyanna who ever lived is going to hold out hope that the new year, the new Congress and the looming presidential election is going to signal a return of political civility.

It ain’t gonna happen, man. You don’t need me to tell you the obvious.

Democrats who took control of the U.S. House of Representatives are loaded for bear. The president of the United States, who has hurled insults the way he might toss pebbles into a pond, has opened himself up to an aura of recrimination. Democrats are in no mood to go easy on Donald Trump. The subpoenas will be flying out of committee chairs’ offices quite soon.

A brand new House member has tossed an f-bomb at Trump, declaring the Democrats’ intent — she says — to impeach him.

The government is partially shut down because Trump wants $5 billion to build The Wall along our southern border. He’s accusing Democrats and the handful of Republicans who oppose The Wall of being for “open borders” and for coddling illegal immigrants at the expense of protecting Americans from the hordes of murderers, rapists, drug dealers and human traffickers he says are pouring into this country.

Is this how you make America great again? Is this how you unify a divided nation? Is this how you reach out to those who voted against you, and in Donald Trump’s case that’s more of them than those who voted for him?

I have tried to hold out a flicker of hope for a return to more civility. That hope is all but extinguished. The flicker has been blown out by all the angry hot air that’s been expelled by politicians who call their opponents “the enemy” or “evil” or any other vicious epithet you can imagine.

My hope once sprang eternal. No more.