Tag Archives: Democrats

What do you know? Dems and Repubs can work together!

The atmosphere in Washington, D.C. has gotten beyond toxic, with the impeachment of the president on the horizon. Democrats and Republicans can’t say anything nice to or about each other these days.

But wait! Amid all that impeachment rancor, exacerbated I should say by Donald Trump’s incessant and relentless Twitter barrage, we see the parties working together to craft a new North American trade agreement.

It’s called the USMCA, which is shorthand for a trade agreement among the United States, Mexico and Canada. It replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement that was hammered out by the Clinton administration.

Donald Trump vowed to scrap NAFTA and replace it with something else. He vowed to craft the best deal in human history. The president hasn’t quite delivered the goods all by himself. It turns out he needed some legislative help not just from his Republican allies, but also from his Democratic foes, er, enemies.

I haven’t yet studied the USMCA, but I understand it’s supposed to benefit Texas business interests, given our lengthy border with Mexico. It also contains some environmental protections that progressives wanted in a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

However, the good news amid all the toxicity that infects everything in D.C. these days is that both political parties can lay claim to a victory … that isn’t at the other party’s expense.

That’s not a bad outcome.

Trying to understand why it’s different now … with Trump

I don’t understand many things. They fly over my head and I am left just to scratch it and say, “Huh?”

One of those items concerns the pending impeachment of Donald Trump. Congressional Republicans are digging in against the impeachment; congressional Democrats are just as fervent in their belief that Trump has committed an impeachable act … or three.

I keep circling back to the most recent presidential impeachment, which occurred in 1998. Bill Clinton got impeached by the House of Representatives, which then was led by the GOP. Republicans had been looking for a reason to file articles of impeachment against the Democratic president almost from the moment he took office in 1993.

Then they found that reason: He lied to a grand jury about an affair he was having with a White House intern. The president took an oath to tell the truth; he violated that oath; the GOP said “aha!” … there’s your impeachable offense.

So the House impeached him. Why? Because he was too embarrassed to admit to messing around with a much-younger woman.

It had not a thing to do with his governance. It affected not a single policy decision. There were no matters of state or statecraft involved. He allowed a young woman to, um, pleasure him and then lied about it before a duly constituted grand jury.

One of the House impeachment “managers,” a young congressman named Lindsey Graham, bellowed righteously that an impeachment was necessary to restore the dignity of the office, which the president had besmirched with his conduct.

That congressman is now a senator and will be one of 100 jurors who will decide the fate of a fellow Republican, Donald Trump. His attitude now? He’s not interested in seeing any of the classified testimony from the witnesses who talked to the House Intelligence Committee. He’s made up his mind. The impeachment inquiry is a “joke,” he said.

Case closed. He don’t need to hear no stinking evidence. 

Therein rests the source of my confusion. Republicans who wanted to pry into the nitty gritty of a president’s personal life now sound as if they are disinterested in knowing the details into how another president might have compromised national security over a political favor he sought from a foreign government.

Which is the worse allegation? I would place my money on the possibility that my president offered a bribe to a foreign leader, which the U.S. Constitution spells out — by name — as a crime against the state.

I just don’t get it.

No need to wait for more witnesses; proceed with impeachment

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee has done its job. It has produced evidence to persuade millions of Americans — including me — that Donald Trump deserves to be the third president to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

So, with that I believe it is time for the House Judiciary Committee to begin drafting articles of impeachment. Then then panel needs to air it out in public, take a vote and if most of panel members agree with the articles to submit them to the full House for a vote.

Donald Trump has sullied the presidency, has committed violations of his oath, has committed impeachable acts … in my view! I know, there are others who think differently, which gets me to why I believe the time has arrived to get this matter settled.

After all we heard, the Republican resistance to impeachment seemingly has stiffened. If the GOP members of the House aren’t persuaded now to impeach this criminally negligent president, then they won’t be persuaded by anyone else who could come forward.

Almost anyone who has paid attention to this matter understands that it likely will be a partisan vote to impeach Trump in the House; there might be one or two Democrats who’ll vote “no.”

There might be a House vote completed by Christmas. Then it goes to the Senate, where the GOP resistance to doing the right thing is just as fierce as it is in the House.

Trump isn’t likely to be convicted in the Senate trial. Let’s put these individuals, all 535 of them in both legislative chambers, on the record. Do they endorse impeachment or do they oppose it? Put another way, do they stand for the Constitution or do they stand for the man who occupies the office of president, who in my mind has violated his oath to defend and protect it?

We must not have this Senate trial collide with the presidential election campaign. Several members of the Senate are running for president. They need to devote their energy to their effort to win their party’s nomination. Sure, they have a duty to administer justice in an impeachment trial. Let them do that duty and then release them to the campaign trail.

When should all this be completed? Hey, let’s try for, say, Easter.

We need not drag this process out any longer.

Let’s get on with it. Then let’s have that presidential — and congressional — election.

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.