Tag Archives: GOP

Nice try, Mitt; don’t wait for an apology

Mitt Romney gave it a shot.

The  Republican Party presidential nominee wants the current president to say he’s sorry for the despicable comments he has made about the Charlottesville riot. It amazes me, to be candid, that anyone would even think Donald John Trump is capable of apologizing.

I’ll give Romney credit for at least putting his request out there on the record.

As a matter of fact, I think I should say that given what the country has endured since the election of the current Republican president, the immediate past GOP presidential nominee is looking better all the time.

CNBC reported: “Regardless of whether he intended it, Trump’s words ’caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,’ the former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts governor wrote in a Facebook post. Romney called on the president to apologize for his remarks.”

Again, from CNBC: “‘He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize,’ Romney wrote. ‘State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis — who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat — and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute.'”

Here is the CNBC story.

There’s one serious drawback to Romney’s plea: It requires the president to feel a sense of shame. To feel shame, one must possess humility. One also must possess a conscience and a certain ability to look inward.

I keep waiting for some evidence of any of that from the president. I cannot find it. It’s nowhere to be seen in public. The man is without shame, conscience, humility or introspection. Didn’t he once say he never had sought forgiveness? For anything? Ever in his life?

An apology is a form of asking to be forgiven. Does anyone — even Mitt Romney — believe now is the time we’re going to hear such a thing from Donald Trump?

Thanks nevertheless for making the demand, Mitt.

This Senate campaign could be a scream … really!

Go, Dan, go!

Dan McQueen is running for the U.S. Senate now held by Ted Cruz, aka the Cruz Missile.

McQueen is not exactly new to politics. He was mayor of Corpus Christi for all of 37 days. Then he quit amid a huge splash of bad publicity, a social media feud via Facebook with constituents and the media.

Now he’s decided to go after Cruz, who’s going to seek a second Senate term in 2018.

Read Texas Monthly’s report of McQueen’s candidacy.

McQueen was new to politics when he was elected mayor in 2016.

Then questions emerged about his academic credentials and his business expertise. He fought with the media and with city council members. McQueen got entangled in a clean water dispute. Then came questions about a relationship he was having with a business associate.

He had enough. So he walked away from his mayor’s job after a little more than month.

Is he the right person for Republicans to nominate next spring when he runs against Cruz? I have no clue.

But a guy who couldn’t stand the heat at City Hall now wants to step straight into the white-hot fire of Capitol Hill. How in the world is he going to withstand the scrutiny he is going to get as he campaigns against Cruz?

But you know what? The more I think about it, the more Dan McQueen sounds like he’d be a good fit in that zoo we call Congress.

It’s for real: Trump is a RINO

I’m a bit slow to pick up the beat on this, so I’ll acknowledge that right up front.

It’s been clear for a quite a while that Donald John Trump Sr. is a Republican In Name Only. Yep, he’s a RINO. He owns the pejorative term that true-blue Republicans hang on imposters, those who pose as members of the GOP.

The most glaring piece of recent evidence comes from the dozen or so Republican U.S. senators who are lining up behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s embroiled in a dispute with the president.

Trump blames McConnell for every legislative failure that’s come along. He has chastised at various times the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (another Republican), Sen. John McCain (he’s an R, too), and the attorney general of the United States, Jeff Sessions (a former Republican U.S. senator).

Oh, sure, he’s gone after Democrats as well.

The president, though, is playing exclusively to the 35 percent or so of Americans — his political “base” — who continue to stand by their man. They adore the president not because he’s a Republican, but because he, um, “tells it like it is.” 

Hmm. It just occurs to me: They love Trump for the very same reasons millions of other Americans — including yours truly — detest him.

The man has no ideological grounding. He doesn’t have a core set of principles. He has no understanding of government, nor any interest in learning about it.

Trump ran for president as a “populist,” a friend of the Little Guy. Yet he jets off to his decadent resort properties in Florida and New Jersey where, I’m quite sure, he spends zero time talking up close with rank-and-file middle Americans who are the only political allies left on whom the president can count.

The president’s appeal has nothing to do with party, or ideology, or governing principle. The president is a RINO. Pure and simple.

Trump’s troubles have nothing to do with ideology

Michael Dukakis once was derided when he said while accepting the 1988 Democratic Party nomination for president that the election was “about competence.”

His foes shredded him for that suggestion and he lost the election huge to Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Three decades later, another president is facing crises of his own. They relate in some measure to his own competence. Or lack thereof. They also concern his fitness for the job and whether he actually is of sound mind.

A former Republican U.S. senator — a member of Donald Trump’s own party — is urging his former colleagues and members of his home state of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to remove the president from office as soon as possible. Gordon Humphrey said that Trump is of a “sick mind.” He calls him “seriously sick” and “dangerous.” Sen. Humphrey’s concern stems from that reckless statement about “fire and fury” that Trump threatened to bring to North Korea over that country’s threats to the United States.

There’s a good chance we’re going to hear more of that kind of talk as Trump continues to exhibit an absolute disregard for anything approaching diplomatic protocol or decorum. He reportedly ad-libbed the “fire and fury” threat while on vacation in New Jersey — and it is continuing to reverberate around the world.

The curious aspect of all this anti-Trump fever/fervor is that it seems to have nothing to do with ideology. Why? It’s because, in my view, Trump lacks an ideology. He doesn’t have a guiding principle on which he seeks to govern. His interests lie solely in “winning” at all costs. It matters not one damn bit whether a policy fits into a neat ideological niche.

He shows his incompetence daily by refusing to reach across the aisle to Democrats, with whom he must govern in a cooperative manner. For that matter, he’s swatting away the hands of many leading Republicans, too, the guys on his team.

Then he inflames all of it with his utterly frightening threat to North Korea. “Donald Trump is impaired by a seriously sick psyche,” Humphrey wrote. “His sick mind and reckless conduct could consume the lives of millions.”

Will any of this result in some sort of removal strategy? I haven’t a clue. I am of the opinion that we are going to hear much more of this kind of talk coming from within the Republican Party, which might be awakening finally to the mistake that occurred when Donald Trump got elected president of the United States.

Now for Main Event: The Donald vs. Mitch

It’s a rare event indeed when a president beset with unanimous opposition from the “other party” decides to declare virtual political war on someone who’s aligned with him in the same political party.

Donald John Trump Sr. is now tweeting his angry thoughts about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Here’s the best part: McConnell offered a perfectly reasonable, rational critique of the president’s difficulty in enacting legislation, while the president responds with a typically juvenile tweet.

I’m shaking and scratching my head at the same time.

McConnell noted that Trump is “new” to the political process, and said he set “excessive expectations” about how quickly he could enact his legislative agenda. The president’s newness is an honest assessment; the man had zero public service experience prior to running for president. He doesn’t understand government and doesn’t grasp the notion that effective governance is a team sport, that it requires the executive branch of government to work hand-in-glove with the legislative branch. It also requires pols from both parties to compromise while searching for common ground.

Good grief! McConnell could have said it much more harshly than he did. He sought instead to be the diplomat.

Trump fired back with that tweet reminding us that Congress had seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but still hadn’t gotten the job done. Trump’s allies in the right-wing media — namely Fox News commentator Sean Hannity — weighed in, calling for the Senate majority leader to resign.

The utterly ridiculous aspect of this is that Trump and McConnell supposedly are on the same team. The president needs McConnell to assist him in furthering his agenda. Is this how he intends to harvest that help, by continuing these attacks?

Meanwhile, the loyal opposition on the other side of the political chasm — congressional Democrats — are remaining quiet.

Smart.

With ‘friends’ like these …

Donald John Trump Sr. needs all the friends he can find on Capitol Hill.

Why, then, does the president of the United States insist on waging rhetorical war with the leader of the U.S. Senate’s Republican majority? Why is he picking a fight with Mitch McConnell, a master Senate parliamentarian and a guy known as one who can move legislation?

That’s what Trump is doing.

I’m going to put my money on McConnell getting the better of this battle of wits.

McConnell was mildly critical of the president for setting “excessive expectations” for his legislative agenda. Trump then fired back — via Twitter, of course! — this message: “Senator Mitch McConnell said I had ‘excessive expectations,’ but I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?”

You see, this is another demonstration of what the president fails to acknowledge. He is the leader of the Republican Party. He’s the head of the executive branch of government. He owns the GOP’s failure to enact an Affordable Care Act replacement bill as much as the congressional Republican leadership.

Except that he refuses to take ownership on that failure. Or any failure, for that matter.

This deteriorating relationship is going to bring great harm to the president’s ability to enact any kind of legislative agenda. The more he fights with members of his own party, the weaker he appears across the land.

Democrats, meanwhile, should follow the time-honored credo of refusing to butt in when principals of the other party are fighting so openly.

What’s more, if the special counsel’s investigation into that “Russia thing” gets any hotter, and it produces actionable results, the president is going to seriously need friends on his side of the aisle. This intra-Republican squabbling isn’t going to help him.

This might be where I should say: Awww, cry me a river.

GOP turning on its own guy in the White House

Ana Navarro is a well-known Republican “strategist” who makes no secret of her disdain for Donald John Trump Sr., the nation’s top Republican and the president of the United States of America.

Navarro is a frequent guest on TV news shows. She said on CNN this morning that Trump needs to stop lying, stop tweeting and start acting like a president. He demeans the office and disrespects the majesty of the position he holds, according to Navarro.

Why is this noteworthy? It’s because Navarro appears to be echoing a growing number of Republicans who are fed up to here with the president’s antics, his petulance and his constant harangues against the media and his political opposition.

Read more about Navarro’s rant here.

Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard is another prominent Republican who simply cannot stomach the president’s behavior. Other notable GOP stalwarts — such as columnist George Will and former congressman/turned TV host Joe Scarborough — have abandoned their party because of Trump.

What do these individuals have in common with each other and with millions of other Americans? They’re all political conservatives who seek to adhere to the principles they’ve believed in. Trump has no guiding principle. All he wants is to “win.”

The fight over replacing the Affordable Care Act provides a sparkling example. The president didn’t know what was in the GOP plan to replace. He never discussed its details. He couldn’t parse the differences between the ACA and whatever it was the GOP wanted to enact in its place. All he wanted was a bill sent to his desk; Trump said he had “pen in hand” to sign it.

When it wasn’t forthcoming, he tore into Congress. He eviscerated the Republican leadership for its failure to enact a law. Did he take ownership of his own failure? Not in the least!

Now he is facing growing hostility among his “base.” Polls show his support among his most loyal supporters is shrinking. Trump won’t acknowledge those survey results, though, because they portray him in a negative light. He calls them “fake news,” as if he has any understanding of his own role in promoting real-life fake news at every turn.

GOP “strategists” and other party activists seem to have had their fill. As Ana Navarro has said: “Start telling the truth. Start taking your job seriously. Stop exaggerating, stop outright lying and then repeating it.”

Sen. Flake speaks hard truth to fellow conservatives

Political conservatives have been scolded by one of their own.

Are they listening? Are they taking heed? Will they act differently in the future?

The scolding comes from U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a lifelong Arizona Republican, who says conservatives were shamefully silent while the man who would become president told the ongoing lie about Barack Obama’s place of birth.

Flake also turned his fire on conservatives who chanted “Lock her up!” at Donald J. Trump’s campaign rallies.

Conservatives have misbehaved and have failed to follow in the footsteps of Flake’s political mentor, the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater. Indeed, Flake’s new book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” mirrors the title of Goldwater’s 1960 book.

Flake is concerned about the fate and future of the Republican Party, which is now being led by a president with no apparent ideological compass. Flake wants Donald Trump to settle down, to demonstrate some discipline, to allow the White House staff operation to function as it should — and to curb his use of Twitter to make policy pronouncements.

Flake said he’ll continue to criticize Trump when he deserves and will support him when he deserves that, too.

He does pose a fascinating question about the conservative movement. He wonders how actual conservatives can continue to support someone who espouses “protectionist” trade policies, seeks to isolate the nation from the rest of the world and wants to spend enormous amounts of public money with funds that are missing from the federal Treasury.

I’ll add as well that conservatives ought to re-examine their support for someone who has spoken so crassly and profanely about his political opponents and behaved so boorishly in his own personal life.

My hope is they would look inward. My fear — which is being demonstrated daily — is that they’ll continue to stand by their man.

Patrick misfires on municipal government critique

Oh, that Dan Patrick. He needs a lesson in Civics 101.

The Texas lieutenant governor has now laid blame for “all the problems” facing America at the feet of mayors, the vast majority of whom he says are Democrats. Oh, did I mention that Patrick is a Republican? There. I just did.

Patrick told Fox Business News that Democrats have made such a mess of municipal government that cities’ woes are spilling over into other walks of life. He said citizens are happy with governments at the state level. The cities? They’ve gone to hell, thanks to Democrats, according to the sometimes-bombastic lieutenant governor.

Shall we offer the lesson now? Sure, why not?

I’ll concede that there are pockets of municipal dysfunction around the country that have occurred under the watch of mayors elected as Democrats. Is that an exclusively Democratic problem? No. It is not. Republican-run cities have fiscal and crime issues with which they must deal, too. They have potholes that need to be filled and street signals that need to function properly.

What’s more, many thousands of mayors and city council members are elected on non-partisan ballots. Partisanship has no place in municipal governance. Cities with home-rule charters are governed by those who set aside partisan differences and who seek to set policies based on community interests, not based on whether they have positive or negative impacts on certain neighborhoods based on partisan affiliation or leaning.

I’m reminded at this moment of an Amarillo mayoral race some years ago in which a challenger to then-Mayor Kel Seliger called on all “good Republicans” to elect her instead of the incumbent. Mary Alice Brittain sent out pamphlets imploring GOP voters to turn out that spring to oust the mayor.

I was working at the time as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News and we reminded our readers to turn their backs on the ignorant rants of that challenger, given that Amarillo is one of most Texas cities governed by non-partisan mayors and city council members.

Seliger won re-election that year by a huge margin; Brittain disappeared and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Dan Patrick is entitled to espouse his partisan bias. I understand he’s a faithful Republican officeholder. He’s got a tough job running the Texas Senate, which is meeting at the moment with the House of Representatives in a special session of the Legislature.

But, c’mon Dan! Knock off the broad-brush blame game against local government officials who are doing their best to cope with the problems facing every city in America regardless of party affiliation.

As the Texas Tribune reports: But “the fact that city elections are nonpartisan is one of the greatest things about city government,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League. “We like to say that potholes aren’t Democratic or Republican… it costs the same amount regardless of ideology.” 

Patrick should know better. I fear he does not.

Is bipartisanship making a comeback in the Senate?

Oh, I do hope my ears and eyes aren’t deceiving me.

I’ve heard during the past day or so that the failure of the Republican-authored bill to replace the Affordable Care Act has produced a remarkable event.

It is that Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington are going to actually talk to each other about how they might find a path toward improving the ACA.

Alexander chairs the Senate Health Committee and is committed to working with Murray to commence bipartisan hearings next month that would fix some elements of the existing health care law.

I do believe this is how effective government is designed to work.

The Senate Republican caucus sought to craft an ACA replacement without any Democratic help. The House of Representatives did approve its version of an ACA replacement, also without Democratic input or votes. It fell to the Senate to complete the job. The Senate failed when they lost three GOP senators, killing the totally partisan measure.

Now the Senate is blundering its way toward a compromise solution. Sens. Alexander and Murray are leading the way.

They’re both Capitol Hill veterans. They’ve been around long enough to know how the place can actually work. Alexander and Murray aren’t alone in that knowledge, to be sure.

It well might be time for Republican congressional leaders — in both legislative chambers — to accept that the ACA is the law of the land and that it’s likely to remain the law of the land.

Many of us out here in the heartland have noted that the ACA is far from perfect. Its chief proponent, former President Obama, has implored Republicans to find a bipartisan solution to repair the law. GOP lawmakers, though, have been hung up on repealing the ACA.

A one-party solution hasn’t worked out for the Republicans.

There now appears some momentum building for a return to the proven strategy of working together — with both parties sitting at the same table — to find some common ground.

That’s how you legislate.