Tag Archives: GOP

Sanford: Trump doesn’t deserve re-election, but he gets my vote

Former South Carolina congressman and governor Mark Sanford speaks out both sides of his mealy mouth.

He might run against Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. He said he doesn’t believe Trump deserves re-election. He might campaign against him in the GOP primary.

But then …

When he’s asked whether he would vote for a Democrat in the (likely) event Trump wins the GOP nomination, Sanford said he is a “core Republican” and that yes, he would vote for Trump over the Democratic nominee.

Please!

Let’s ponder two quick points. One is that while Sanford might be a “core Republican,” the president is not. He is a Republican In Name Only who gloms onto GOP policies because they appeal to his base of supporters. He has no pre-presidential history within the once-great political party.

The second point is that Mark Sanford is the guy who, while serving as South Carolina governor, told his staff to lie to the media about his whereabouts. His staff declared the governor was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” while in fact he was taking a tumble in Argentina with the woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

Is this guy any more trustworthy than the president he wants to see defeated but who would get his vote anyhow? At best that is a debatable point.

Beto feels the heat from those who want him to drop out

Beto O’Rourke is getting a lot of unsolicited advice these days.

Such as what came from the Houston Chronicle over the weekend. The Chronicle, which endorsed his candidacy for the U.S. Senate over Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, has urged O’Rourke to drop out of the Democratic race for president and to run for the Senate seat now occupied by GOP incumbent John Cornyn.

Read the editorial here.

O’Rourke is polling in the single digits. He was thought to be a strong favorite in Texas among the still-large field of Democratic primary candidates for POTUS; he isn’t polling all that strongly in his home state.

So, should O’Rourke bail on the race for the White House? I’ll offer this view.

He lost by a thin margin against Cruz in 2018, filling Texas Democrats’ hearts with hope that the state might actually elect a Democrat to statewide office for the first time in more than two decades. Cruz has parlayed his near-miss into a presidential campaign that started with a lot of buzz, but which has floundered.

Does he shuck that bid and take on Cornyn? Well, he would need some assurance that he could actually win the Senate seat Cornyn has occupied since 2003.

Were the former El Paso congressman lose a second consecutive U.S. Senate race, I believe that might doom any statewide office aspirations that O’Rourke might harbor.

Two straight losses would be tough to overcome.

I have no advice to give the young man. He’s getting a lot of it from people who are more in the know than little ol’ me. I am just concerned that the magic that Beto found in his first run for the U.S. Senate might be a bit more elusive to find were he to make another run for another Senate seat.

Good luck, Beto. Do what you think is best.

Trump’s lies, uh, trump Biden’s mistakes

Donald Trump is trying to make some hay over Joe Biden’s misstatements.

He said “Sleepy Joe” is not up to the job of president of the United States. The president’s surrogates, such as his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, question Biden’s “acuity.” Trump is trying as well to turn the Democratic Party primary frontrunner into an incompetent candidate for the nation’s highest office.

May I weigh in here? No need to answer that. This is my blog and I’ll weigh in anyhow.

Donald Trump’s incessant, relentless lies suggest to me a sociopathic tendency. He lies without any care for the consequence. Sociopathic behavior, to my understanding, suggests a form of amorality … which defines Donald Trump to the letter.

I am inclined to wish that the former vice president gets himself into full campaign shape soon. He’s not there yet. The mistakes, the gaffes and the stumble-bum speechmaking open Biden up to the kind of criticism that Trump and his allies will hurl at him. What’s more, it will stick with that base of voters on whom Trump is depending.

I want to look past all this immediate stuff. I want to examine the Democratic front runner’s lengthy public service career. Has it been hiccup-free? Of course. I concede the point about the plagiarism accusation that dogged him during a 1988 presidential campaign. He tried again in 2008, only to lose the Democratic nomination to Sen. Barack Obama, who then selected him to serve as vice president.

He served for 36 years in the Senate. He chaired the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees. He built a mountain of credibility and has forged alliances and friendships with politicians on both sides of the aisle and both ends of the spectrum.

I just want him to sharpen his message.

As for Trump, he is a lost cause. Watch any of those campaign rally riffs on which he lets loose and you get my drift. Or at least you should get it. When he’s not making an ass of himself, he is lying to our faces.

But the MAGA-philes love it. Good for them. They and their hero — Donald Trump — deserve each other.

Rep. King needs to go … get with it, Iowa voters!

I normally wouldn’t care what a two-bit member of Congress from far-away Iowa thinks about anything.

Except that Steve King, an ultraconservative Republican with a history of making fiery remarks about this and/or that happens to vote on laws that affect all of us far from his western Iowa congressional district.

So, when this clown pops off, it reflects badly on all of us.

What has he said … this time? He told The Des Moines Register that rape and incest are largely responsible for the existence of the human race.

Hoo, boy!

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” he said.

Hey, there’s a bit more. “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

That’s it! Humanity exists because many of our forebears raped women or had sex with their siblings or even their own children!

Isn’t that simply mind-boggling in the extreme?

This is the guy who once told us about “illegal aliens” with “calves the size of cantaloupes” smuggling drugs into the country. He also recently said he doesn’t understand how the term “white supremacy” has gotten such a bad rap.

OK, he’s one of 435 members of Congress. He also thrusts himself into the spotlight on occasion with remarks such as the nonsense about rape and incest.

And remember, too, that he writes and votes on laws that affect all of us. You and me.

Does he make you proud? I, um, didn’t think so.

Is a GOP retirement announcement coming from the Panhandle?

The Texas Tribune published a story on Nov. 28, 2018 that speculated about the possibility of several retirement announcements coming from Texas’s substantial Republican congressional majority.

One section of the story said this: ” … many Republican operatives bet that U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, the most senior Republican from Texas in Congress, could make the upcoming term his last. That’s because Thornberry, currently chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is term-limited out of being the top Republican on that committee, in 2021.”

Thornberry no longer is chairman of the panel. He currently serves as ranking GOP member, which gives him some clout on the panel. Still, it’s not the same as chairing it.

I want to defend my former congressman on one point. He campaigned for the office in 1994 while supporting the Contract With America, which contained a provision that called for limiting the number of terms House members could serve. Thornberry never said he would impose a personal limit on the terms he would serve representing the 13th Congressional District.

He has voted in favor of constitutional amendments in the House; the amendment proposals always have failed.

Twenty-four years later, Thornberry has emerged as one of Texas’s senior congressional lawmakers.

I, too, wonder whether he might pack it in after this term. I’ve speculated on it publicly in this blog.

I don’t talk to Thornberry these days, although I still believe we have a good personal relationship. I rarely have supported personally his policy pronouncements during his years in the House. I’ll admit, though, that my position as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News required me to write public statements in support of Thornberry against my personal beliefs; hey, it’s part of the job of writing for someone else.

The way I look at it, a Mac Thornberry retirement likely wouldn’t result in the 13th District flipping to a Democrat. The GOP majority in the Texas Legislature has created a rock-solid Republican district that stretches from the top of the Panhandle to the Metroplex.

If there’s a retirement announcement coming from Mac Thornberry, you can consider me as someone who won’t be surprised.

Obstructing justice is an impeachable offense … isn’t it?

Robert S. Mueller III filed a lengthy report that concludes among other things that the president of the United States obstructed justice regarding the lengthy investigation into the Russia Thing.

If a president can be impeached for obstruction of justice in 1998, why is it different in 2019? That’s the quandary with which I am wrestling at this moment.

House Republicans declared in 1998 that a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, should be impeached because he obstructed justice while former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr looked into that sexual relationship with the White House intern. Oh, and he committed perjury while talking to a federal grand jury.

Two strikes against Clinton were enough for the GOP to launch an impeachment proceeding against a Democratic president. The impeachment succeeded, but then the Senate trial produced an acquittal on all the counts.

Therein lies the conundrum that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing. The House has the goods to impeach Donald Trump. Mueller’s report cited at least 10 instances where the president sought to obstruct justice. He said it again in testimony before two congressional committees in July. Why didn’t he file a formal complaint? Mueller said the Office of Legal Counsel policy prohibits him from indicting a “sitting president.”

I happen to stand with Pelosi’s decision to go slow on impeachment. She doesn’t want to proceed with impeaching Trump if there is no appetite among Republicans in the Senate to convict him of a complaint brought to them by the House.

I say all this, though, while scratching my noggin. If obstructing justice was enough to impeach a president 21 years ago, why is this instance so radically different that congressional Republicans cannot do so again now?

I think I know the answer. Congressional Republicans are playing politics with a growing constitutional crisis.

Rep. Taylor is feeling the pain a little more deeply

I spoke by phone today with U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, the newly elected congressman from Texas’s Third Congressional District.

Taylor is a young freshman Republican in the People’s House. He didn’t say so directly, but I am sensing a deep personal pain in the wake of the El Paso massacre that erupted over the weekend, mere hours before another gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine victims. Twenty-two people died at the hands of a lunatic who allegedly traveled more than 600 miles to El Paso to do harm to “as many Mexicans as possible.”

Why is Taylor feeling so much pain? The alleged shooter is a constituent of the congressman.

The alleged gunman graduated from Plano High School. He had lived with his grandparents in Allen, which is right next door to Plano.

Rep. Taylor told me that the act of one individual shouldn’t tar an entire community. He spoke to me today of the standard of living in Plano, how it ranks highly among cities of comparable size in any study one can name. It has a stellar per-capita income, along with the education level of its residents, he said.

One man’s moronic outburst doesn’t tar the community. That’s what I heard Van Taylor say this morning.

He hasn’t visited El Paso in the wake of the massacre. I am not sure when he’ll go. Taylor did tell me he has spoken with El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, with whom he served briefly in the Texas Legislature.

I ended up telling Taylor that I was “in your corner.” I am pulling for him and his colleagues as they seek answers to this dual-track tragedy. I only intend to demand them to explore deeply any possible avenue they can to curb this gun-violence insanity.

Indeed, I believe this young man is hurting.

RINO takes on a dangerous new meaning

We hear it with all too alarming frequency. Republican zealots face off against the more stalwart members of their party and hurl an epithet that no actual Republican wants to hear.

That they are Republicans In Name Only. They’re RINOs. They don’t adhere to Republican orthodoxy. They aren’t true believers. They waver too far off the political reservation.

Whatever the hell all of that is supposed to mean.

The term RINO these days seems to be hurled mostly at Republicans who are alarmed at the president of the United States who, in my mind, is the actual RINO. He’s the RINO in Chief.

And yet Donald John Trump has captured what used to be the soul of the Republican Party. I will continue to maintain that Donald Trump is not a Republican in the form that I have come to understand the term.

Republicans used to stand firm on national security. They detested and distrusted military dictators. They wouldn’t be caught dead calling murderous tyrants terms of endearment, such as “smart cookie” and “strong leader.” They used to believe implicitly in our intelligence experts’ assessment of national threats. They used to exercise strict fiscal discipline. They hated budget deficits and bemoaned the national debt. They once stood proudly as the Party of Abraham Lincoln, the president that sought to end slavery. Twentieth-century Republicans stood firmly against segregationist southern Democrats. They would never equate Nazis and Klansmen with people who oppose them.

What the hell has happened to the Republican Party, an organization populated by individuals and groups that speak ill of those in their party who criticize Donald Trump?

So, when a contemporary Republican accuses another GOP member of being a RINO, he or she merely is endorsing the idiocy trumpeted by the con man who got elected president in 2016.

If I were of the Republican Party persuasion, I would embrace the term RINO as high praise.

Wait for GOP to undermine Mueller while Dems seek the truth

First I will acknowledge my partisan bias. I tilt to the left; I tend to favor Democratic candidates over Republicans; I believe in good government, even if it requires expansive government.

Now, I want to offer a word of caution over what the nation is likely to hear Wednesday when former special counsel Robert Mueller III testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Congressional Democrats are going to seek to pull information out of Mueller that explains what he wrote in that 448-page report he filed about allegations of collusion and obstruction of justice regarding Russian election hackers in 2016.

They are going to get Mueller to answer serious questions about his probe into collusion with the Russians. They want him to purge the notion that his probe “exonerated” Donald Trump of collusion and obstruction of justice. Trump has been saying he was cleared. Mueller’s written report says quite the opposite. The nation needs to hear Mueller say it out loud and clearly, that he did not exonerate Trump of any wrongdoing.

What will be the GOP strategy? They’ll seek to undermine Mueller. Republican lawmakers will try to label Mueller as a Democratic partisan who hired Democratic partisans to join his legal team. They will undercut the former FBI director. They will seek to turn the spotlight away from Trump and turn directly onto Mueller. They will seek to declare that Mueller lacked “sufficient evidence” to level any formal charges, which if you think about it is an admission that he had evidence. Just not enough of it.

I will listen more intently to what the committee Democrats ask of Mueller. Sure, I’ll listen to Republican congressmen and women seek to undermine this man’s impeccable integrity.

I want to learn something and I hope that happens when Robert Mueller finishes talking to the congressional committees … and to the nation.

Former Gov./Rep. Sanford proves that standards have lowered

Do you want proof that Donald Trump’s presidency has lowered the bar for the behavior of our elected officials?

Try this one on for size: Former South Carolina Gov. and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford is considering challenging the president in the 2020 Republican Party primary.

You remember Sanford. This is the guy who when he was governor of South Carolina decided to travel to Argentina to cavort with a paramour, all the while instructing his gubernatorial staff to tell the media that he was “hiking along the Appalachian Trail.” Yes, the governor ordered his staff to lie about where he was and what he was doing.

The word got out. The media found Sanford in South America where he was taking a tumble with his girlfriend. Sanford’s wife, Jennifer, divorced him. He resigned the governorship, then ran for Congress, only to lose his re-election bid in 2018.

Now he is considering whether to challenge Trump’s re-election next year. Give me a break.

I only can presume that Sanford has calculated that if Donald Trump can be nominated and then elected president — given his own sordid history of lewd and lascivious behavior — then all bets are off.

Weird.