Tag Archives: Donald Trump

The Birther in Chief strikes again


Here we go … one more time.

First, the target was Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States. He was born somewhere other than the United States, the allegation went.

Second, the target was Ted Cruz, junior senator from Texas, who actually was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father.

Now it’s Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, who was born in the Sunshine State, but whose parents immigrated there from Cuba.

All three men allegedly are constitutionally ineligible to run or serve as president.

The man making the assertion? Donald J. Trump, the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.

Trump now says Rubio might not be eligible. His parents’ aren’t American, Trump said. Oh, wait. Rubio was born on U.S. soil. U.S. law says he’s a citizen automatically. Doesn’t matter, Trump asserts. He questions the eligibility, just as he has done with Cruz, even though U.S. law granted young Ted citizenship because Mama Cruz is an American citizen.

And the president? Well, he was born in Hawaii. Trump hasn’t stopped questioning his eligibility, either, even though the president’s late mother also was a U.S. citizen.

Trump is relying on others’ assertions. He’s using social media to send out the doubts that he denies planting. Sure thing. He’s adding plenty of irrigation to the doubts, though, by continuing to provoke needless discussion and unfounded questions about one of his opponents.

Will this latest specious assertion do any damage to Trump? I’ve noted before that I am done predicting such things. This campaign has entered a parallel universe where the normal rules of decency and decorum no longer apply.


Trump earns evangelical support … how?


One of the many — countless, it seems — confounding features of this presidential election cycle concerns the support that Donald J. Trump appears to be gathering from a most unlikely bloc of Republican “base” voters.

I’m referencing here the evangelical voters, those folks who describe themselves as devout, “born again” Christians.

Trump’s victory in the South Carolina GOP primary this weekend came in good measure from the support he got among evangelicals.

I don’t pretend to understand all the nuances of every voting bloc in America. Nor will I jump to many conclusions about any demographic group.

What I know about those who adhere to evangelical Christianity is that they take their Scripture quite seriously. They also prefer that others believe as they do.

So, what does Trump believe? How has he lived?

He’s on his third marriage; he’s been divorced twice. More to the point is that Trump has actually boasted — in writing — about the extramarital affairs he’s had with women who were married to other men. Doesn’t the Bible frown on marital infidelity?

He’s on record at one time as supporting abortion. I haven’t actually heard him say he supports partial-birth abortion, but many of his critics have said as much and I haven’t heard Trump actually deny he ever favored such a thing. I believe evangelical voters vehemently oppose abortion. Isn’t that correct?

Trump has made a lot of money building hotels — and casinos, where people go to gamble away lots of money and, perhaps, engage in activity that is, shall we say, a good bit less than righteous.

The man’s lifestyle over many decades has featured a flaunting of vast material wealth. Again, I won’t presume to know what is in the hearts of those who believe in the principles espoused in Scripture, but I doubt seriously that Trump’s opulent lifestyle fits the bill.

And when I hear Trump talk about the Bible and its contents, he sounds for all the world — to my ears, at least — as though he’s talking about a paperback novel he bought off the used-book shelf. Am I wrong or does he sound to anyone else as though he doesn’t have a clue as to what the Bible actually says — about anything?

But here we are. We’ve been through three contested Republican political events; Trump has finished first in two of them. The South Carolina primary took place in a state where New Testament religion plays a major role in the lives of many of those who call themselves Republicans.

This has been a confounding electoral process so far. Donald Trump’s appeal among evangelical voters within the Republican Party base might be the most perplexing development of all.

What in the name of all that is holy am I missing?


Another Bush vs. Clinton? Not any longer

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts as she is introduced to speak at the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

It seems like eons ago.

Pundits on the left and the right not so long ago were talking — some of them bemoaning — about the idea of another race involving presidential candidates named “Bush and Clinton.”

Well, as of Saturday night that dream/nightmare went out the window.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the Republican primary race after getting battered in South Carolina.

The “Clinton” in this scenario? Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Democratic caucus by a comfortable — if not overwhelming — margin and has returned as the prohibitive favorite for her party’s presidential nomination.

I was not one of those who dreaded another Bush-Clinton matchup. I thought then, and I still do, that Jeb Bush could have made a strong case for his own candidacy. He has executive experience and did a good job as governor of a growing state. He’s not the squishy lefty that hard-right conservatives say he is.

Donald J. Trump drew a bead on Bush early on and beat his brains in.

Then we have Hillary Clinton. I refuse to refer to her as “Hillary,” as so many others have done.

She’s got some baggage. Her own legislative and foreign policy experience will be a plus as she plows her way to the expected nomination.

Clinton has that authenticity and likability matter she’ll need to resolve.

You know what they say about any span of time being a “lifetime in politics.” It could be a day, a week, a month — perhaps even an hour, or so it seems.

A year clearly is a lifetime.

What once was seen as quite probable is now gone. Vanished. Jeb Bush could’ve been a contendah.

It didn’t happen. Now, it’s on to the next round of unpredictable finishes.


Trump breaks all the rules


It’s become almost a cliché these days to note how Donald J. Trump has broken all the standard political rules.

He has gone on record as supporting abortion on demand, single-payer health insurance, he’s given money to Hillary Clinton’s previous campaigns, he calls the Iraq War a “huge mistake.”

The Republican Party primary base of voters would seem to oppose him on every one of those issues.

They love the guy. He won again tonight in South Carolina’s Republican primary.

Another rule — generally speaking — is to pay some kind of tribute to a vanquished foe. Tonight the foe was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who bowed out of the campaign. Bush congratulated “the other candidates” who fared better than he did; I presume he included Trump among them.

Did the victor of tonight’s South Carolina primary return a compliment to Bush? Umm. No.

He ignored Jeb Bush. He passed over any mention.

Another rule of good manners … broken!

Will it matter to those who just adore Trump? Hardly.

This has become a campaign where all the standard norms of decent behavior have been tossed aside.

Go … bleeping … figure.




Well, I’ll be dipped …


Dear old Dad had a saying he would use whenever he was mortified, surprised, confused or amazed.

“Well, I’ll be dipped in sesame seeds,” he would say.

Tonight, my dad is being dipped and covered in ’em. I don’t have any other way to describe the news out of South Carolina that TV celebrity/real estate mogul Donald J. Trump has rolled to another Republican Party presidential victory.

The fight is on at this moment for second place. The combatants are U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.

I’ve admitted already, but it’s worth another admission, a confession, a mea culpa: I was wrong about Trump’s staying power. Many times along the way I thought he’d said something that would doom him.

It started with his denigration of Sen. John McCain’s status as a Vietnam War hero. “He’s a hero because he got captured,” Trump said. “I like people who aren’t captured, OK?”

There would be many other instances of profound crassness. None of them mattered in the eyes of those who continue to support this guy.

I am no longer going to make such predictions as they relate to Trump.

This campaign has become a case study in weirdness.

The insults keep piling up — right along with the victories this individual keeps winning.

He’s two-for-three at the moment. Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, barely. Trump rolled to victory in New Hampshire and appears to be rolling in South Carolina.

If the Republican National Committee still harbors any hope of stopping Trump, of denying him the party’s presidential nomination, my advice is simple and straightforward.

Y’all have to get real busy. Like right now!

Oh, and Dad? Wherever you are, I’m just as baffled as you might be.


It’s do or die for ‘Jeb!’

Jeb  Bush

Erica Greider, writing for Texas Monthly’s blog, offers an interesting analysis of the stakes for today’s South Carolina Republican presidential primary.

She thinks Sen. Marco Rubio has the most to gain — or lose — from the results.

But she inserted this into her blog:

“The prevailing wisdom is that the alternative with the most at stake tomorrow is Jeb Bush. More specifically, there’s a sense that if he can’t manage a strong third-place finish, at least—despite all his advantages at the outset of the race, a strong performance in the most recent Republican debate, and being joined by his brother, former president George W. Bush, on the trail—that it’s time to pack it in.”

Here’s the rest of what she writes.

I’m going to go with the “prevailing wisdom,” which is that the biggest loser from the South Carolina primary could be John Ellis Bush, aka Jeb!

His brother, W, came out of the shadows to campaign actively for his  younger sibling. The 43rd president — who’d made a vow, like their father had done — to stay out of the political arena once he left office. George W. Bush could remain silent no longer, as Donald J. Trump continued blustering about how W and his bunch had “lied” their way into starting the Iraq War.

Jeb figured that Brother W’s continuing popularity in South Carolina could propel him a strong finish when the votes are counted.

I am not privy to the details or the fine print, but it’s looking as though Jeb Bush might not make the grade.

I’ll just offer this bit of personal privilege. I did not vote for W any of the four times I had the chance: his two elections for Texas governor or his two elections for president of the United States. I do, though, like him personally. I’ve had the privilege of visiting twice with him extensively while he was governor — and once briefly in 1988, before he won his first term as Texas governor.

He’s an engaging and personable fellow.

It was my hope that some of that would rub off on Jeb. It apparently hasn’t. Jeb has been caught in that anti-establishment buzzsaw being wielded by he likes of Trump and — oddly enough — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

I will not dare to predict the outcome of the South Carolina vote today. Jeb Bush had better hope he finishes much nearer to the top of the heap than the bottom of it.

At this moment, I am pessimistic.


President Gingrich, anyone?


How decisive will the South Carolina Republican primary be after the votes are counted?

That remains a matter of considerable discussion.

Donald J. Trump is the frontrunner. The fight now is for second place.

But consider what transpired there four years ago.

Newt Gingrich won the state’s primary, which when you look back shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. The former U.S. House of Reps speaker hails from next-door Georgia. He was more or less a “favorite son” candidate of GOP voters. He then promptly flamed out.

The same theory perhaps applies to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ blowout win in the New Hampshire Democratic primary just a while ago. He represents neighboring Vermont in the U.S. Senate. Familiarity didn’t breed contempt there, either.

This process remains in its early stages.

The Republican field has been winnowed considerably from that massive horde of contenders/pretenders that began the race.

For my money, though, the serious test will occur on March 1 when Texas joins several other states in that big Super Tuesday primary.

Then we’ll see who’s got the chops to keep going.

Let’s all stay tuned.


More major culling to occur?


It’s beginning to look as though the Republican Party primary presidential field is going to endure another serious thinning out … maybe soon.

The South Carolina primary is coming up. Donald Trump continues to lead the pack — for the life of me I don’t know how.

Ted Cruz is in the mix. So is Marco Rubio.

That leaves the three also-rans, one of whom I had high hopes could resurrect his campaign.

Ben Carson should leave the race. John Kasich — my favorite Republican and possibly my favorite candidate in either party — needs to score well if he’s going to continue. Jeb Bush? I fear that he’s done, too.

That will leave us with three men running for the GOP nomination.

Two of them are serious, although none of them — for my money — should be the nominee.

It’s looking like one of them will survive the dogfight.

It’s been said that the primary system is a grueling battle that determines whether the “fittest” of the candidates will survive. I’ve called it a form of political natural selection.

This election cycle is proving to be a test of conventional wisdom, which used to suggest that the fittest candidates were those with the most experience, the most knowledge, and who are the most articulate in explaining their philosophy.

That’s not the case these days.

The fittest candidates are those who scream the loudest and who appeal to the fears of an electorate that has been told they have plenty to fear.


Pope’s statement careless, wise all at once


Pope Francis was correct to suggest that nations shouldn’t build walls, but should instead erect bridges.

That’s as far as his wisdom extends.

The pontiff demonstrated a remarkably tin political ear when he suggested that “anyone who builds walls” isn’t a Christian, which a clear shot at Republican presidential frontrunner Donald J. Trump.

The pope should have known that Trump would respond as he has done. He should have anticipated the firestorm he would create when he weighed in on the American presidential campaign.

He didn’t do that. Yes, the pope tried to take back some of what he said initially. It was too late to tamp down Trump’s anger — not to mention the anger of those who are supporting his presidential candidacy.

The Washington Post does take note of the fundamental message the pope sought to deliver, which is that we should treat each other with more humanity. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of demonization.

Of course the pope’s comments drew a sharp response from those who have noted the Vatican — where the pope lives — also is surrounded by walls. Hmmm. Well, I would simply add that the comparison isn’t entirely an accurate one, given the security concerns that the pontiff, whoever he is, has faced for centuries from those who would seek to do harm to him and the Catholic Church.

Whatever his noble intentions, the pope — if you’ll pardon the indelicate language — has managed to step in it.


Court to rule on Cruz’s eligibility to run


It won’t be the “big court” that will decide it, but a judge in Illinois has agreed to hear a case that’s been dogging a major Republican presidential candidate ever since he entered the race.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was born in Canada; his mother is American, a U.S. citizen. His father is Cuban.

Cruz has maintained that because Mom is an American, he was a U.S. citizen the instant he was born. Thus, says the candidate,  he is eligible to run for president as a “natural born citizen.”

But a fellow who happens to support Ben Carson, another GOP presidential candidate, has filed a lawsuit to challenge Cruz’s assertion.

Of course, we have Donald J. Trump continuing to threaten to sue.

The Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., has agreed to hear the case. I wish the U.S. Supreme Court would hear it; perhaps it will … eventually.

To be honest, I am tired of this kind of hatchet-job politicking on candidates. I do not want Cruz to become president of the United States. However, I believe he is right to say that he is fully eligible to run for the office.

Let the judge decide.

I’m not a legal or constitutional scholar, but the way I read U.S. law as it refers to citizenship, the senator has made his case.

I doubt a lower court decision is going to provide any closure. Still, I am glad that someone with legal authority — and presumably the educational background — to make an informed decision will take us closer to ending this ridiculous discussion.