Tag Archives: DNC

Trump tempts political fate by ordering witnesses to stay silent

I just have to ask: Is Donald Trump committing an act of potential political suicide by refusing to allow witnesses from his administration to testify before congressional committees?

Another president, Richard Nixon, sought to play the same card in 1974. It cost him bigly. President Nixon told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino he would get nothing more from the administration regarding the Watergate matter.

Rodino wouldn’t accept that. He was able to force the president to turn over pertinent material related to the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in June 1972. The rest, as they say, is history. The Judiciary panel approved articles of impeachment and then the president resigned.

Forty-five years later, Donald Trump is seeking to play the same hand. He is telling the current House Judiciary chairman, Jerrold Nadler, that he will withhold information from that panel as it seeks to uncover the truth into allegations of obstruction of justice into the Russia matter that’s been in all the papers of late.

Nadler doesn’t strike me as being any more likely to cave in to this president’s demands than Rodino was in 1974 when Richard Nixon tried to bully him.

I among those Americans who does not favor impeaching Trump. I want the House and the Senate to do their work. Special counsel Robert Mueller appears headed to Capitol Hill eventually to talk to both legislative chambers.

I want Mueller to state on the record whether he believes Trump committed a crime, whether he obstructed justice. If he won’t say it, well, we need to accept what we won’t get. Then again, if he says that president did commit a crime of obstruction, but that Mueller just couldn’t commit to issuing a criminal complaint, well . . . then we have a ballgame.

Richard Nixon’s stonewalling ended badly for his presidency in 1974. Donald Trump’s reprise of that strategy well could doom his own presidency.

Trump keeps making media the ‘story’

I long have considered it a terrible journalistic sin for the media to become part of the story they are covering.

I worked in the media for nearly four decades and I managed over that span of time to steer clear of any discussion of an issue I was covering. Occasionally an organization that employed me would get entangled in the story; they would manage to wriggle themselves free.

The Age of Trump has produced an entirely different dynamic.

He labels the media the “enemy of the people.” His followers buy into it. They demonstrate in front of cable, broadcast and print reporters seeking only to do their job.

It’s getting weird to watch the news these days and hear all these references to cable networks involved so deeply in the covering of current events. For instance:

  • Fox News Channel has been banned from Democratic primary presidential debates because it has become a virtual arm of the Trump administration. Its commentators are known to be in constant communication with Donald Trump, reportedly offering policy advice to the president.
  • CNN, MSNBC are on the other end of the spectrum. Their commentators take great delight in chastising their colleagues at Fox. Meanwhile, Fox fires back at their competitors/colleagues. Oh, and the president hangs “fake news” labels on all media that report news that he finds disagreeable.

It all reminds of an athletic event where the attention turns to the referee. You want to concentrate on the athletes, not the individuals who discern whether they’re breaking the rules.

We’re concentrating increasingly on the media reporting of the issues at hand, and less so on the actual issues that are being discussed.

It’s a distressing trend that appears — to my way of thinking — to have no possible exit for the media.

POTUS to block ‘fake news’ outlets? No can do

Oh, please, Mr. President. You cannot do what you are threatening to do.

Just because the Democratic National Committee chairman, Tom Perez, has decided that Fox News is too much in bed with you and your administration and has ruled that Fox cannot host any Democratic primary debates this coming year, you cannot invoke the power of your high office to retaliate.

Really, Mr. President? The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids that kind of interference from the government in the affairs of a free press. Really. It’s in there, Mr. President.

Tom Perez’s gambit falls outside the constitutional prohibition of such activity, given that the Constitution doesn’t even mention political parties.

What you are threatening to do, sir, flies directly in the face of what the founders intended when they provided specific protections for a private enterprise known as the “free press.” It’s the only such protection written into the Constitution. You would do well to read it, grasp what it means and stop this idiotic tit-for-tat game you’re playing with the media.

But I get that it plays well with your base. They love the grandstanding, the posturing, the hyperbole. They think you’re “telling it like it is.”

Actually, Mr. President, you’re telling it like you believe it is. Since your true believers agree with you, that’s all that matters to you.

Settle down, sir. Just stop that idiotic relationship with Fox News. Stop calling Sean Hannity and asking him for policy advice. He doesn’t know enough about the real world to give you any counsel that’s worth a damn as it is.

DNC slams door in Fox News’s face

This story gives me a mild case of dyspepsia.

I’ll struggle through it and suggest, though, that the Democratic National Committee is rightfully angry with the Fox News Channel. Thus, the DNC has decided that Fox News will not play host to any of the party’s presidential joint appearances scheduled for this year and next.

The other major cable and broadcast networks will be allowed to present questions to the candidates during their debates. Fox, though, is out of the game.

The DNC is angry over Fox’s amazing relationship with the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Indeed, the president himself has cozied up to the network’s prime-time and early-morning stars by showering gratuitous praise on them while denigrating and disparaging the work done by the other so-called “fake news” outlets.

Trump has become a semi-regular guest on Sean Hannity’s talk show, allowing Hannity to slobber all over himself in praise of the president. To be honest, I find it shameful that Hannity has been allowed to grovel as he does at the president’s feet. He even took the microphone at a Trump campaign-style rally a while back, interjecting himself directly into a partisan event.

“Fox & Friends,” the network’s early-morning gabfest has been shameless in its fawning over Trump. The president reciprocates to his pals, most notably Steve Doocy, one of “F&F”‘s co-hosts.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez has declared that Fox has become a de facto arm of the Trump administration. Therefore, the DNC has determined that the network cannot be a fair and impartial participant in activities relating to the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process.

According to The Hill: In a statement, Fox News senior vice president and Managing Editor Bill Sammon said the network hoped the DNC would reconsider, citing the network’s journalists Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, “all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism.”

“They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” Sammon said in an emailed statement.
I’ll acknowledge that this decision troubles me. Fox does have some first-class journalists who do good work for the network. They are being undermined and undercut by their bosses and by their colleagues at Fox who pander shamelessly at the feet of the president.

My indigestion will go away over time. If only Fox would recognize the mistake it makes when it allows its on-air personalities to act as if they are on the government payroll.

There actually was a time when we were more divided

These 50-year commemorations keep sneaking up on me.

One of them, Aug. 29, 1968, occurred in Grant Park, Chicago, during that year’s Democratic National Presidential Nominating Convention.

Democrats nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey to run against Republican nominee Richard Nixon. Humphrey lost the election narrowly to Nixon.

HHH’s political fate likely was sealed in Grant Park, when Chicago police applied brute force to put down a riot being staged by hippies, Yippies and assorted other anti-Vietnam War protesters. It was an ugly night of violence.

I was about a week into my own duty in the Army. I would head to Vietnam the following spring. But, oh, I do remember that political year. My first political hero, Sen. Robert Kennedy, was gunned down in the Los Angeles hotel kitchen after winning the California Democratic presidential primary. RFK’s death came two months and a day after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.

I want to take particular note here to remind us that no matter how divided we are today, it could actually be worse. The Grant Park riot 50 years ago today tells me just how deep and wide the chasm can get.

I do fear that we might be headed in that direction five decades later. If we get there, then we’d all better prepare for the worst.

With a ‘friend’ like this, Hillary’s in trouble

You know already that I supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. So it is with more than a bit of chagrin that I am hearing some bad news about her failed bid for the White House.

The weirdest part of it is that it is coming from a fellow Democrat who I always presumed was on her side. Silly me. That’ll teach me for presuming too much.

Donna Brazile, a long time Democratic operative who served for a time as interim chairman of the Democratic Party, has come out with some stunning news about Clinton’s campaign.

One is that Clinton’s campaign “rigged” the party nominating process in her favor. It used underhanded tactics to torpedo the campaign of Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Brazile alleges that Clinton didn’t consider Sanders to be a real Democrat; he represents Vermont as an independent in the U.S. Senate.

This rigging allegation, of course, adds fuel to the fire that continues to burn that Clinton is “crooked,” “ruthless” and will do whatever it takes to win, no matter who it harms.

I will concede that I do think less of Clinton than I did a year ago, or even a week ago.

What’s worse, though, is what the revelations from Brazile reveal about her, not Clinton.

We also have learned that Brazile has written that she contemplated replacing the Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine ticket with one led by then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Think of the ham-handed nature of such a decision were it to come to pass. The Democratic Party had nominated a candidate nearly every political analyst in America believed was a lock for the presidency. Then she stumbles along the way. Her campaign went into a form of intellectual vapor lock. Brazile was so upset she was going to engineer an ouster of the party’s nominee?

I surely get that Clinton’s foes are going to seize on this as proof — as they see it — that she is Satan’s daughter. I won’t go there.

Yes, these are disturbing things to hear from an ostensible ally of the woman thought to be the next president of the United States.

Are they deal breakers? Do they make me rethink my support for her in 2016? Given the choice we faced nearly one year ago … not for a single second!

Earth to POTUS: You won!

Dear Mr. President …

There you go again, trying to re-litigate the 2016 presidential election.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been blasted yet again by her fellow Democrats for supposedly “rigging” her party’s nomination fight. She’s been exposed by so-called “ally” Donna Brazile, a longtime Democratic Party operative and former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman.

It’s a party matter, Mr. President. You’re a Republican (supposedly). So, why are you tweeting your brains about calling on the Justice Department to investigate the woman you keep disparaging with that nasty nickname?

The most ridiculous assertion you make is this:  “Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems. New Donna B book says she paid for and stole the Dem Primary,”

Everybody is asking, Mr. President? I hate to break the news to you, but “everybody” isn’t asking. I’m not. My wife isn’t, either. I’m pretty sure that most of the 65 million Americans who voted for Hillary aren’t asking, either. It might be, too, that many of the 62 million who voted for you aren’t all that concerned, either.

But, hey, you won the election. You’ve got a pretty full plate of things to consider. Why don’t you just get past the 2016 election and get on with the business of governing the nation?

As long as we’re talking politics, Mr. President, this isn’t your fight. It should be settled by Democrats.

So, with all due respect, sir … butt out!

Comfortable in this retirement skin

This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on upcoming retirement.

Today is Monday. It’s a “work day” for those who still have to work for a living.

It’s also a day in which I made a realization as I walked down the street to collect my mail, before I ran an errand to purchase a couple of musical tickets for my wife and me. It was the realization that I do not miss going to work each day.

I am now entirely comfortable in my retirement skin.

I still work a part-time job. There might be another one resurfacing down the road. However, the idea hit me like a slap in the face today that I no longer miss the daily grind, the deadline pressure associated with the craft I pursued for 37 years.

I damn sure don’t miss the phone calls from those who dislike something I wrote, some of which ended with someone impugning my integrity, my patriotism … and even my religious faith.

Daily journalism delivered many gifts to my family and me over many years. It enabled me to do something I still love to do, which is to share my opinions with others and to write editorials on behalf of the newspaper for which I worked. It provided me with a comfortable living — even as I was forced to take two cuts in pay during the latter years of my employment as my corporate employer struggled to rid itself of the mountainous debt it had accrued.

My job gave me the opportunity to see and do things most folks don’t often get to do: landing atop an aircraft carrier and then being catapulted off the deck is one of those things; flying over an erupting volcano is another; attending and reporting on two presidential nominating conventions ranks up there, too.

That’s all in the past. I remember the vast bulk of my career with great fondness. The final years? Well, not so much. The end of it and how it occurred? Not at all.

These days I am free to run errands during the middle of the work day, in the middle of the week. My wife and I avoid the crowds that way, you know?

This new life also enables me share these views with you on this blog, which keeps me — more or less — in the game, such as it is.

More travel awaits, too.

Yes, this retirement life is getting more fun all the time.

Parties suffer/enjoy results of presidential election

Is it me or are the media missing one of the critical backstories of the 2016 presidential election?

It goes like this … I believe.

Right up until Election Day, the media were reporting the pending demise of the once-great Republican Party. The GOP, media types reported, was in need of an extreme makeover. Their presidential candidate was about to get creamed by Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Batten down the hatches! A storm was a brewin’ within the Republican Party ranks, they said.

Then a funny thing happened on Nov. 8. The GOP presidential nominee won. Donald J. Trump collected enough Electoral College votes to be elected president of the United States of America.

What the … ?

Now it’s the Democratic Party that’s in need of that makeover.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/07/what-went-wrong-dem-party-contestants-face-tough-questions/96284286/

The candidates for Democratic National Committee chair are facing searing, probing questions about how they intend to lead a party in near-panic.

Clinton lost the election. Democrats failed to win the U.S. Senate majority they anticipated getting; nor did they make any substantial gains in trimming the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

This remarkable turnaround occurred within a span of, oh, about seven or eight hours the night they were counting the ballots for president.

Polling now suggests that the next Democratic Party presidential nominee should be someone few of us have heard about … another candidate as unknown as, say, Jimmy Carter needs to take the stage.

It well might turn out that Republicans might regret lining up behind a candidate such as Trump, who seems to lack any fundamental core principles that guide him. He once was pro-choice on abortion; now he’s pro-life. He believes gay marriage is now the law of the land; many within the GOP believe quite differently. He thinks free trade is a scam; Republicans embrace free-trade policies. And, oh yes, we have some conflict-of-interest matters to slog through.

I’ll stop there. You get the point.

But, hey. The guy won! Elections have consequences, eh? Oh, brother, do they ever!

There might be another Jimmy Carter out there

A recent poll commissioned by USA Today and Suffolk University delivered a dire warning for Democrats still stung by the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

The clear “frontrunner” for the 2020 presidential race is someone new. Anyone new. A fresh face.

A friend of mine wondered on social media who the Democrats could come up with. I didn’t answer him directly, but I’ll do so here: If we could come up with a name, it wouldn’t be a new face.

The political parties historically have fallen back to the tried and true practitioners of the politics. They tend to look for established figures.

Then again, we have one example of a new face rising up from out of nowhere. Jimmy Carter did that in 1976.

He was a former one-term governor of Georgia. He didn’t have a particularly noteworthy term as governor. Indeed, his views evolved over time. He had run for political office before as a segregationist. His term as governor featured a radical departure from his former view.

Carter would introduce himself at political parties by saying, “My name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for president.” He strode to the podium at the 1976 Democratic National Convention and began his presidential nominating acceptance speech with that signature line.

Is there another Jimmy Carter out there? Hello?

Come out, come out … wherever you are.