Tag Archives: Donald Trump

GOP’s presumed nominee is looking for love


Donald J. Trump has a problem.

Actually, he has quite a few.

One of them is the lack of love coming his way from the so-called Republican Party “establishment” he must have if he has a chance of becoming the next president of the United States.

Get a load of this: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan — the nation’s most powerful Republican — has said he cannot support his party’s presumed presidential nominee.

Why? He doesn’t represent the kinds of values Ryan wants him to represent. Trump is showing zero ability to unify the party, which also must happen if he intends to sidle into the Oval Office next January.


Trump is at odds with GOP orthodoxy on things such as trade, entitlement spending and foreign policy.

So, how does the nominee-in-waiting earn the speaker’s support? How does he pivot in the correct direction? Does a sudden change in philosophy — as if Trump actually has one — suggest insincerity? What’s more, does the speaker’s about-face look equally phony?

The Republican Party is about to nominate someone with the highest negative ratings in memory. The negative vibe is coming from within the very party Trump wants to represent in the fall campaign against the Democrats.

Here’s the best part: Trump now says he doesn’t support Ryan’s agenda. Someone needs to remind the presumptive nominee that the speaker of the House arguably wields at least as much power as the president of the United States.

Does he need proof of that? He ought to ask the man who occupies the Oval Office at the moment.

As the Chicago Tribune reports: “Whether Ryan’s conditions will be met by Trump remain to be seen. The businessman has shown only modest interest in hewing to party norms, and many observers do not expect him to do so now.”

There, folks, lies the problem that confronts the next GOP presidential nominee.


Here is what Hillary should avoid


Bill Clinton’s first campaign for the presidency fine-tuned the art of rapid response.

His team formed the War Room, comprising staff members adept at answering critics immediately.

When his enemies struck, Team Clinton was ready to strike back. Hard.

How is this relevant to the current political race that now seems just about set? It’s that the former president’s wife, Hillary Clinton, is about to become the Democratic Party’s next presidential nominee and — sure as the dickens — she’s going to face a torrent of attacks from Republicans led by their nominee, Donald J. Trump.

The only advice I’m going to offer Hillary Clinton is this: Do not let Trump’s team set the tone for this campaign. Re-create the War Room and be sure you’ve get every face in order before you launch your counterattack.

Bill Clinton’s quick-strike strategy in 1992 was born out of what occurred four years earlier. The 1988 campaign between Vice President George H.W. Bush and Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis featured a tremendously negative stream of attacks from Bush against Dukakis.

How did Dukakis respond? He didn’t.

The ’88 Democratic nominee thought he should stay “above the fray.” So, he let the Bush team define him, paint him as squishy; that he was on crime; that he was unprepared to be commander in chief.

Sure, Dukakis suffered a couple of critical self-inflicted wounds: He allowed himself to be video recorded riding around in that tank, which made him look ridiculous as he wore that helmet; he also fluffed CNN newsman Bernard Shaw’s question about his views on capital punishment during that televised debate, sounding cold and clinical when asked whether he’d support the death penalty if his wife, Kitty, were raped and murdered.

Dukakis’ big lead after that summer’s conventions evaporated and he ended up losing the election to Bush in an Electoral College landslide.

Trump now says Hillary Clinton hasn’t been properly “vetted.” Oh, please. She is arguably the most vetted presidential candidate of the past 100 years. Clinton was subjected to intense scrutiny during her years as Arkansas’ first lady, as the nation’s first lady, as a U.S. senator and as secretary of state.

It seems apparent that we’re heading toward one of the nastiest presidential campaigns on record. Trump already has dispatched a vast Republican field in large measure through is own use of insult and innuendo against many of his former opponents.

Don’t think for a second he won’t try the same thing against Hillary Clinton.

She’d better be ready.


Trump’s innuendo will live on


Donald J. Trump has done many seemingly “impossible” things while getting to the brink of the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

Heck, just getting to this stage of the campaign — as the presumptive nominee of a once-great political party — ought to stand as the premier impossible accomplishment.

It isn’t, though. Instead, Trump managed to make Sen. Ted Cruz a sympathetic figure.

How did he do that? By tossing out the innuendo that Cruz’s father had some kind of relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot President Kennedy to death in 1963.

Cruz’s campaign for the presidency is now over. But the utterly hideous assertion about the senior Cruz’s supposed “role” in the JFK murder lives on.


Dallas Morning News blogger Jim Mitchell calls it a “new low” in a campaign full of new lows.

Trump used a National Enquirer story into a talking point on his campaign. That’s correct. A supermarket tabloid offered grist for Trump to assert something about a member of an opponent’s family.

As Mitchell writes: “What Trump did is what makes him such a loose cannon. He reads or hears something and then repeats it as the truth. Imagine President Trump making policy on hearsay, or an outright lie, or a plotline he picked up from a television show the night before. I can imagine waking up and having a President Trump explaining why he ordered a nuclear strike with this rationale.”

In truth, I cannot even imagine the words “President” and “Trump” next to each other in a written or spoken sentence.

The Cruz/Oswald innuendo is likely to stand out in the endless list of ghastly assertions Trump has made on his way to becoming the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States.



Bushes 41 and 43 to remain silent


At one level this bit of news isn’t much of a surprise.

At another level, though, it’s still a big deal.

Two former Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — are going to keep their thoughts to themselves regarding the upcoming presidential campaign.

They have no plans to endorse the presumptive GOP nominee Donald J. Trump.

This is more or less in line with what these two men have pledged to do since leaving office. Bush 41 left the White House in 1993 and took, in effect, a vow of political silence. Bush 43 made his exit in 2009 and more or less did the same thing. Neither of them has spoken much about public policy issues or engaged fully in discussions about them.

Both men stepped back into the arena briefly this election cycle to campaign for Jeb Bush. It didn’t work for the younger Bush, who dropped out several months ago.

Why is this a big deal? Why does it matter?

To my mind, it matters because the name “Bush” exemplifies traditional Republican politics. For both men now to say they won’t publicly state their support for — or endorse — Trump speaks volumes.


Their silence deprives Trump of a statement of support from two former presidents who between them served 12 years in the nation’s highest office.

The elder Bush, as I’ve said before, entered the White House as arguably the single most qualified man ever to assume the presidency. The younger Bush took office in 2001 and just nine months later was thrust into the role of wartime president when the terrorists flew those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

What these men think about the state of the current campaign matters.

Indeed, the elder Bush in the past has thrown his support publicly behind GOP nominees. That includes one-time rival Bob Dole in 1996. He, of course, backed George W. in 2000 and 2004, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

This year? He’s going to remain mum.

The Bush men’s silence in 2016 perhaps means more than either of them is going to acknowledge.

R.I.P., Republican Party


Now that millions of voters have dug the grave, it’s now time to start tossing dirt on what once was a great political party.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is going to announce soon that he’s suspending his campaign for the presidency. It’s over for him. The field now belongs exclusively to Donald J. Trump, the real estate mogul/reality TV celebrity/carnival barker/fear monger.

The Republican Party presidential nomination will go to Trump this summer and he’s going to lead the party to a disastrous defeat against — more than likely — Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Kasich was the party’s last hope of retaining some sanity in what has been the most raucous and rancorous primary campaign in most folks’ memory.

Kasich has realized he can’t win. Sen. Ted Cruz bowed out Tuesday night after it became clear that Trump would win the Indiana GOP primary.

The Republican Party once comprised politicians able and willing to compromise on occasion. It once had individuals who knew how to legislate. The conservative wing of the GOP once believed that government should stay out of people’s lives and it once believed in the principle of less government across the board.

Then came this guy, Trump.

What on Earth does he believe?

He panders and pillories the same demographic groups at the same time. He insults anyone who disagrees with him. He also throws out innuendo aimed at destroying opponents, such as the one about Ted Cruz’s father being complicit in President Kennedy’s murder.

Good bleeping grief!

Oh, yes. He also continues to spout the fecal fallacy about President Obama’s birthplace and questions whether the president — who’s nearing the end of his second and final term in office — has been constitutionally qualified to serve as our head of state.

It was a great run, Republican Party.

Now we’ll all see what rises from the ash heap that will remain once the votes are counted this November.

Rest in peace …


Now, Sen. Cruz, get to work on behalf of Texas


I’m not sad to see U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz bow out of the Republican Party presidential primary contest.

He got shellacked Tuesday in Indiana, which would have been his last chance at derailing Donald J. Trump’s march to the GOP nomination.

As New York Times columnist Frank Bruni notes, the Cruz Missile likely will make another run for the presidency down the road. He’ll now “rest in peevishness,” Bruni writes.


Here’s a thought for Cruz to consider, though, as he licks his wounds and ponders the future.

He ought to simply go back to work in the U.S. Senate and start governing on behalf of those who sent him to Washington in the first place.

Cruz might not be wired to actually legislate. He ran against the institution in which he has served since January 2013. He has burned a bridge or three among his colleagues. He called himself an “outsider” despite working from the “inside” the legislative branch of government.

The state has some issues that need federal attention. Cruz pulls down 175 grand annually to represent the state. Taxpayers aren’t paying his salary to grandstand and promote his next search for higher political office.

The coastline needs protection against hurricanes. We need to invest in alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar; surely, Sen. Cruz is aware of the abundant quantities of both of those commodities out here on the High Plains of his state. Our highway infrastructure needs attention. Oh, yes, we need to shore up our border against illegal immigrants.

This is going to require Sen. Cruz to try a new tactic. He’s going to have to learn how to legislate and actually govern.

Cruz has had his shot at stardom. He fell short.

However, he’s got a pretty good, well-paying day job awaiting him on Capitol Hill.

Get back to work, Sen. Cruz.


PS: Here’s an interesting Texas Tribune analysis on how Cruz might seek to resume his actual job.



Why not Kasich, indeed?

cruz and kasich

No one is talking about him this morning.

The political story line of the day — and perhaps for the rest of the week — will be the epic crash of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s Republican Party primary presidential campaign and the pending nomination of one Donald J. Trump as the party’s next standard-bearer.

But there is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all alone in the corner, wondering what in the name of political punditry he’s got to do to get anyone’s attention.

As the co-founder of RealClearPolitics, Tom Bevan, has noted: Kasich is the one Republican candidate who polls ahead of Hillary Clinton — but the GOP voter base is rejecting him.


From my vantage point out here in Middle America, it appears Kasich’s dilemma serves as a fitting metaphor for the demise of what we used to know as the Republican Party.

Kasich is a traditional Republican. He’s been a player in the “establishment” for more than two decades. He served in Congress and became a party leader. He chaired the House Budget Committee and worked with Democrats and fellow Republicans to balance the federal budget.

That’s a big deal, dude.

However, he’s getting zero traction — none! — on that record.

The GOP voting base is now turning its attention and showering its love on a guy who’s got zero government experience, no philosophy and seemingly not a scintilla of grace.

Those voters are angry. So they’re going with the guy who shares their anger.

Can this guy govern? No.

What the hell. That doesn’t matter.

The Grand Old Party as we used to know it appears to have died. Its demise wasn’t entirely peaceful. It’s being replaced by something that is still taking form.

One of those formerly important Republicans — Gov. Kasich — is now among its casualties.


Trump dispatches main rival … who knew?


I’m going to need some more time to ponder what has just happened.

Donald J. Trump has won the Indiana Republican presidential primary. That wasn’t the big surprise of the night. Pre-primary polls pointed toward a big Trump win.

Oh, no. The surprise came from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who cried “Uncle!” He ended his campaign.

Technically, the GOP campaign continues to be a two-man race. The other contestant is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who continues to adhere to the myth that he’s going to the GOP convention in Cleveland with hopes of peeling off delegates who cannot support Trump.

A part of me wishes that would happen. The bigger part of me says it won’t. I happen to think highly of Gov. Kasich, who actually has a record of accomplishment that in any other election cycle would have been enough to win. Not this time.

Trump will be nominated by the Republican Party to run for the presidency of the United States.

Which makes me wonder: What in the world has happened to this once-great political party?

They are about to nominate a glitzy reality TV star who made a fortune building shiny hotels and who has demonstrated more times than I can remember the astonishing ability to win on the basis of insult and innuendo. His insult targets have included women, illegal immigrants, Muslims, veterans, physically disabled individuals … who have I left out?

He hasn’t formulated any form of philosophical foundation. Trump hasn’t laid out a formula for anything other than he’s going to “build a beautiful wall” along our southern border and will cut the “best deals you’ve ever seen” to get other world leaders to do business on his terms.

This, folks, is the basis for running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Holy smokes, man!

JFK becomes part of this campaign?


Chris Matthews is a well-known liberal commentator with a reputation of talking over anyone he’s interviewing.

When the MSNBC pundit gets his dander up, he’s quite capable of delivering profound analysis of all things political.

Consider this: Matthews is incensed at Donald J. Trump’s assertion that Ted Cruz’s father somehow was complicit in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Matthews’ point? It is that Trump has crossed yet another boundary of good taste as he campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination. This time he has invoked a tragic memory that has burned itself indelibly into the minds of Americans old enough to remember the Nov. 22, 1963 murder of a president.

And for what purpose? Matthews called it cheap politics. Trump has cheapened Americans’ heartbreak by using the JFK murder as a political cudgel with which he seeks to beat a political opponent.

Trump remembers that day, just like the rest of us who were old enough to recall it.

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Matthews’ belief that Trump once again has displayed an utter and absolute lack of respect for historical context.

Matthews also believes Trump’s preposterous assertion about Cruz’s father’s relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald is going to “matter.”

I’m not sure about that.

I do believe, though, that Trump lacks a fundamental trait necessary to become the head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

It is decency.


Don’t look for these rivals to make up


Recent political history is full of examples of how rivals for the presidency have said means and occasionally disgusting things to and about each other … and then hooked up as allies.

In 1960, U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson fought each other for the Democratic presidential nomination. JFK was nominated and then picked LBJ to run with him. They won the election and the rest is, well, history.

Twenty years later, former Gov. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush battled for the 1980 Republican nomination, with Bush labeling Reagan’s tax plan as “voodoo economics.” Reagan won the GOP nod and then picked Bush to run alongside him as vice president.

In 2008, the combatants were Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden fighting for the Democratic nomination. Biden dropped out, Obama won the nomination and picked Biden to run with him. President-elect Obama then turned to another campaign rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and selected her to be secretary of state.

In 2016, well, matters are quite a bit different.

The battlers this time are Donald J. Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz. They are fighting for the Republican nomination.

The gloves are off. The brass knuckles are on. The men loathe each other. Trump calls Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” Cruz is now responding with attacks on Trump, referring to him as a “pathological liar” and a “serial philanderer.”

Trump now says that Cruz’s father might have been a principal — are you ready for this one? — in the assassination of President Kennedy. Cruz’s response was classic: “Let’s be clear: This is nuts. This is not a reasonable position. This is kooky,” Cruz said in Evansville, Ind. “While I’m at it, I should go ahead and admit yes, my dad killed JFK, he is secretly Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa is buried in his backyard.”

Cruz is likely to get battered badly in today’s Indiana GOP primary. He’s going all-out against Trump. The men seem to truly despise each other.


Trying to predict any outcome in this year’s wacky presidential contest is a dicey proposition at best.

I feel comfortable, though, in asserting that Trump and Cruz will not team up for the fall campaign.