Tag Archives: GOP

Democratic establishment channeling GOP counterparts from 2016

How fascinating it is to watch the Democratic Party establishment wringing its hands over the possible — and I won’t yet say “probable” — nomination of a presidential candidate who’s far from the mainstream.

Does it remind you of anything, say, from just four years ago?

The 2016 Republican Party primary battle featured a large field of contenders having to fend off a challenge from a political outsider. Yep, Donald John Trump gave the GOP establishment fits. He stuck his finger in the establishment’s collective eye.

In 2020, the outlier is a guy named Bernie Sanders, who’s doing the same thing to the Democratic establishment.

Try this similarity on for size: Sanders serves in the U.S. Senate as an independent from Vermont; Trump only ran as a Republican because it presented the easier path to nomination and then to election, as he had no active involvement with the party prior to running for the presidency. Trump had no public service experience. He spent his entire adult life seeking to enrich himself.

Sanders’ critics say he isn’t a real Democrat, just as Trump’s critics said in 2016 — and many of us are saying now — that he isn’t a real Republican. I believe criticism of both men on that point has its merit.

Republicans were damn fools to nominate Trump in the first place. To my mind he has proved himself to be a disaster as president. One of his GOP primary foes, Jeb Bush of Florida, predicted accurately that he would govern as a “chaos and confusion” president. Trump has delivered on that prediction.

What’s in store for the Democrats if they manage to nominate Sanders? I’ve already declared that I believe he is likely to lose big to Trump. Then again, as I’ve noted before on this blog, my prediction skills are quite suspect.

I mean, I never thought Trump would be elected. Hah! Silly me. Silly all those other folks who thought they had the 2016 election pegged.

Facing an electoral quandary

I have been “chatting” via social media with a longtime friend who has told me of her intention to vote in the Republican Party primary next month. She lives in the Golden Triangle of Texas and tells me she must vote in the GOP primary because of the plethora of local races that mean much to her.

I get that. I also have told her that I intend to vote in the Democratic primary because I have not yet built the familiarity my friend has with her community.

She’s lived in Orange County for decades. I have lived in Collin County for a little more than a year. I am not proud to acknowledge that my familiarity with local contests isn’t yet up to speed. However, I must go where my instincts lead me.

They are leading me to cast my ballot for races involving national and statewide contests.

We’re going to cast our votes for president on March 3. Super Tuesday’s lineup of primary states includes Texas and its big prize of delegates to both parties’ nominating conventions.

I am not going to restate the obvious, which involves my vote for president, or simply that I will never cast a ballot for the current POTUS. My chore now is to examine the Democratic field for the candidate of my choice.

My inclination is to support Joseph R. Biden Jr. However, it is not clear at this writing whether he’ll be a viable candidate when the Texas primary rolls around. He must win in South Carolina. The former VP is losing African-American support that he says is his “firewall” to protect his candidacy from total collapse.

Then we have the U.S. Senate race and the U.S. House contest. Yes, the impeachment battle plays a factor in my vote. GOP Sen. John Cornyn, whom I actually like personally, has been a profound disappointment to me with his vote to acquit Donald Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. What’s more, my first-term congressman, Republican Van Taylor, also disappointed me when he voted against impeaching Trump of those high crimes and misdemeanors.

My attention is focused, therefore, on the bigger stage.

I will need to live through another election cycle to familiarize myself with local issues and candidates sufficiently to cast my vote with any semblance of intelligence. Hey, given that I live in a county that’s even more Republican-leaning than my friend’s home county in the Golden Triangle, I understand the need to get up to speed.

I will do so in due course.

Trump likely to turn 2020 campaign into personal bloodbath

Those of us out here beyond the Beltway who want an issues-centric campaign for the presidency are likely to be disappointed greatly in what we get from the major-party nominees.

Why? Because the Republican incumbent, Donald John Trump, appears intent on personalizing the fight. He will level a heavy barrage of innuendo, laced with insults at whomever the Democrats nominate to oppose him.

Bet on it. This is the type of campaign that lines up just the way the president wants it.

As for the Democratic Party nominee, he or she had better be prepared for what is likely to come.

To be candid, I am weary of the insults that Trump hurls with abandon. I want to know what he intends to do about the serious crises facing this nation and the planet: climate change, for one. Trump says climate change is a hoax, although he did recently make a sort of endorsement about how important the environment is to him. It sounded more like a platitude than any sort of serious assessment.

I will not hold breath in anticipation of any sort of serious discussion by Trump and, by extension, by the Democratic nominee. If the Democrat talks about serious matters, the public is likely to tune him or her out.

So that produces a campaign of personal vitriol.

Yes, it will be a virtual repeat of what we got in 2016.

The Democrats nominated an eminently qualified public servant in Hillary Rodham Clinton. She blew it apart at the end by ignoring key Rust Belt states that Trump’s campaign adroitly picked off, enabling him to win a slim Electoral College majority.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump kept up the drumbeat of innuendo against Clinton, suggesting corruption that no one has been able to prove against her.

Take this to the bank: The president will do the same thing against whomever he faces as he seeks re-election. The Democrats’ challenge is to be ready to slug it out.

The losers in this bloodbath will be, well … you and me.

So very sad.

Trump allies want impeachment wiped off the books?

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that Donald John Trump would be impeached “forever,” that he would take the House’s impeachment with him to his grave.

Not so fast, say some of the current president’s allies in Congress.

Some of Trump’s GOP allies are considering whether to introduce a resolution to have the impeachment expunged from the record. That’s it. They want the congressional record to no longer reflect what is now inscribed permanently into history.

I am baffled as to how that is supposed to work.

Trump stands impeached on grounds that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress. The House impeached him for those counts and then sent them to the Senate, which this week acquitted him after a slam-bam trial that was devoid of witnesses.

So, does that mean the impeachment shouldn’t stand? Of course not. It means only that the Senate, led by Trump’s Republican allies, decided they would not convict him of the charges that the Democrat-led House filed against him.

An acquittal by one body does not negate the action of another body. The Constitution says the House has “sole authority” to impeach a federal official; it says the Senate has sole authority to put that official on trial.

Besides, expunging the record does not mean that (a) those of us who are alive to witness the event will forget about it or (b) historians won’t acknowledge that the impeachment occurred in the first place.

Don’t you see? Speaker Pelosi was right. Donald Trump will be “forever” remembered as an impeached president.

Don Jr. ignites angry response to a real Republican’s outrage

I practically choked on whatever it was I might have been munching on the moment I read what Don Trump Jr. had said about Sen. Mitt Romney’s history-making vote in the Senate impeachment trial of Don’s dad, the current president of the United States.

Romney became the first senator in U.S. history to cast a vote against a president of his own party; the Utah Republican voted “guilty” on the charge that Daddy Donald abused the power of his office by soliciting a foreign government for personal political assistance.

Don Jr. said Sen. Romney, for voting his conscience and trusting in God to assure fidelity to the oath he took as a Senate juror, should be “expelled” from the Republican Party.

Yep, the No. 1 presidential grifter said that Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, should be kicked out of the party because he dared to honor the oath he took to be an impartial juror and to render justice according to what he understood to be his solemn responsibility.

I hasten to note that Mitt Romney has contributed more to the Republican Party — through his term as governor of Massachusetts and as an ongoing advocate for mainstream GOP policies — than Don Jr. or his father, for that matter, ever will contribute.

For a man who’s profited materially from his father’s business interests and in recent times his political standing to call for the expulsion of an actual Republican with serious policy chops is beyond reprehensible.

I get that Junior is angry. Fine. Keep it to yourself, chump.

Acquittal doesn’t necessarily mean exoneration

Given what most of us out here in Flyover Country expect will happen — that the U.S. Senate won’t kick Donald Trump out of office — I want to offer a word of warning to fellow news junkies as to what we’re likely to hear from the president of the United States.

He will shout, scream and holler that the Senate has “exonerated!” him. He will declare that the Senate’s failure to clear the very high — justifiably so — bar set by the nation’s founders means that his impeachment was based on nothing at all.

That’s not how many of us see it.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump on allegations that he abused the power of his office and that he obstructed Congress. They made the case in convincing fashion; their evidence is enough to warrant his removal from office … in my view.

Trump sought political help from a foreign government and withheld military aid to that government until it provided a “favor, though” to him and his re-election team. He has instructed his staff to ignore congressional subpoenas. Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress? Done deal, man. Again, that’s my view.

The Senate won’t find 67 votes to convict Trump. So, he’s likely to say the Senate has “exonerated” him. No. It won’t. His expected acquittal only will signify that an insufficient number of senators saw fit to convict Trump of what I believe are impeachable offenses.

We need to hear from witnesses in this Senate trial. Yes, even if they are provide evidence that clears Trump of wrongdoing. Trump is fighting that idea, which tells me he is hiding something. Someone deserving of “exoneration” doesn’t go to Trump’s lengths to keep witnesses from testifying. Am I right?

The trial begins next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named the “managers” who will prosecute this matter on behalf of the House. Senators will sit quietly in the chamber and listen to what everyone has to say.

Then they will vote. Trump will escape with a narrowly defined acquittal. He’ll holler he was “exonerated!”

The irony? That false claim will be yet another Donald Trump lie.

Waiting for the next ‘trial of the century’ … to date

It now appears that Americans won’t have too much longer to wait for the next trial of the century.

Pass the popcorn and the Pepto.

Donald Trump is about to stand trial in the U.S. Senate on grounds that he abused the power of the presidency and obstructed Congress. The House of Representatives impeached him on those grounds. The vote was largely partisan. The vote at the end of the Senate trial figures to be equally partisan. Trump will not be tossed out of office.

Dang it, anyhow! That’s how the system works.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today she will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. She has instructed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to prepare for the selection of House “managers” who will prosecute the case against Trump.

OK, it appears that Trump’s escape from conviction is a done deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is going to violate the oath he and his colleagues will take to be “impartial” in their deliberation, has declared his intention work hand in glove with the White House. He’s taking his cue from Trump’s legal team.

There might be witnesses called. I say “might,” because it’s not assured. It damn sure should be required.

Trump sought a political favor from a foreign government, Ukraine. He wanted that government to announce an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential 2020 presidential campaign foe. If it did as he asked, Trump said he would send military hardware to Ukraine to assist in its fight against Russia-backed rebels.

Abuse of power, anyone?

Trump also has instructed his key aides to refuse to answer congressional subpoenas to testify before House committees during their “impeachment inquiry.” He has usurped Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch.

Obstruction of Congress? Anyone? Hmm?

I believe he has committed both acts. They are impeachable. They have earned him an early exit from the Oval Office. Except the nation’s founders set the bar quite high for that to occur: Two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Senate needs to agree with yours truly; the Senate will fall short of that high standard.

But … at least the trial will be over. Then our attention can turn to the election. It will be a barn-burner.

I am ready to rumble.

Waiting to hear GOP condemnation of Trump’s conduct

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

This much is becoming clear: Donald Trump will not be convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors in an upcoming U.S. Senate trial.

So is this much: Senate Republicans who are standing behind the president are remaining shamefully silent on what they think about the allegations that have been leveled against the president.

They aren’t arguing against the evidence. They aren’t saying the allegations that Trump are false, that he’d never do such a thing.

So, if they believe the allegations to be credible, why don’t they speak out against such conduct? They ought to declare that presidents shouldn’t solicit a foreign government for political help; that they shouldn’t withhold military aid until they get a “favor” from the foreign government; that they shouldn’t usurp congressional authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch by barring White House aides from answering congressional subpoenas to testify.

Nope. We’re getting none of that.

A generation ago, another president, Bill Clinton, got impeached because of an affair he was having with a White House intern. He lied to a grand jury about that relationship. He handed congressional Republicans a gift-wrapped reason to impeach him.

President Clinton also received plenty of condemnation from his fellow Democrats, who were ashamed and aghast at his conduct. They said out loud that Clinton had besmirched the office with his affair. They also said the conduct didn’t rise to the level of a Senate conviction.

This time? Republicans are keeping their lips zipped.

It makes me wonder whether they are so frightened of what this president do, how he might react that they are cowed to remaining silent when they ought to speak out against his conduct.

Is it true, therefore, that Donald Trump has seized the Republican Party by the throat and is strangling it … possibly to death?

Stop pandering to GOP, Mr. Former VP

Joe Biden now says he might consider asking a Republican to join him on a ticket to run against Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Hold the phone! C’mon! The presumed Democratic primary frontrunner need not go there, at least not yet.

First of all, he doesn’t have the nomination locked up. On the contrary, many of us out here who might be inclined to support the former vice president are still anguishing over his continual verbal missteps, gaffes and need for “clarification.”

Second of all, who among the nation’s leading Republicans would he consider at this moment? None of them is speaking up against Trump. They’re exhibiting supreme political cowardice by enabling the president to continue to embarrass the nation and the office he occupies. Trump takes their silence as a tacit endorsement of his conduct, which has gotten him impeached by the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Biden’s suggestion that he’d consider a GOP running mate came in response to a question in New Hampshire. It sounds to me like so much pandering to a potential Republican voting bloc that might be inclined to vote for a Democrat over a GOP president they consider to be an embarrassment.

Many of us are still waiting for a prominent Republican politician to offer a full-throated condemnation of Donald Trump. If one shows the guts to do such a thing, then we ought to talk about adding that individual to a Democratic ticket.

What is Biden thinking?

It’s time — maybe it’s past time — to acknowledge what I have been fearing for a while.

It is that Joseph R. Biden Jr. might not have the rhetorical chops to become the next president of the United States. For the life of me I do not understand his response to a Des Moines Register editorial board interview question concerning a possible subpoena by the Senate to testify during Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The former vice president had the bad form to say he would refuse to answer a subpoena. Yep, he would ignore it. It has me wondering now whether this is the right man to nominate to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency.

A friend of mine offered what I consider to be a stellar alternative response that Biden could have used in response to the question. It goes like this:

“Absolutely. I will be happy and proud to participate in any legitimate congressional investigation into Trump’s misbehavior. Once the Senate has shown it is serious about finding the truth by securing the testimony of Mulvaney, Giuliani and Bolton, I will proudly march onto Capitol Hill to explain how I did nothing wrong and supported legitimate U.S. policy aims in all of my interactions with Ukraine. I will then elaborate on how the honorable president I ably served for eight years would have never participated in such despicable behavior. I look forward to the moment the senate fulfills its Constitutional mandate by conducting a fair trial that seeks the truth about this stain on America’s honor.”

My friend goes on:

No. 1, you win the argument immediately and everyone who is not automatically supporting Trump gets it.

No. 2, you will never, ever be forced to testify because Trump and the GOP absolutely cannot afford to have those three testify under oath under any circumstances.

Sheesh. This isn’t brain surgery here.

Now the former VP has had to “clarify” what he said, although I am not sure the clarification actually cleared any of the rhetorical debris out of the way.