Tag Archives: GOP

Waiting for GOP heroes to emerge

I am acutely aware that we’re likely still some distance away from determining potential guilt or innocence in the “Russia thing” investigation involving Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

However, I want to ask something out loud: When might there be some Republican “heroes” emerging to tell the president that they’ve had enough of his lying; they have had their fill of the controversy that threatens to swallow the presidency whole?

The Watergate comparisons keep coming forward. President Nixon got ensnared in a coverup of the break-in at the Watergate complex in June 1972. Democrats, quite naturally, were raising a ruckus almost from the beginning. Republicans then remained more or less silent even as evidence of the coverup began to reveal itself.

Then the dam broke. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the president had to release tape recordings of White House conversations. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment.

It was then that a delegation of Republican members of Congress trooped to the White House and confronted the president.

It fell to Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Arizona Republican, to tell Nixon that he had no support in the Senate once the House impeached him. He wouldn’t withstand a trial. The president’s list of supporters didn’t include Goldwater, the senator told him.

Nixon resigned shortly thereafter.

Are we heading to that point with Donald Trump? I have no clue.

However, the evidence of a cover-up keeps mounting in this case as well. Moreover, former aides and key advisers are talking openly about a president coming unhinged over the barrage of negative publicity.

And the president is lashing out at what he calls “fake news,” and uses Twitter to hurl bizarre insults at former allies who’ve become foes.

Where are the GOP heroes who are going to say, “Enough is enough”?

We need not get all the way to an impeachment deliberation for those heroes to emerge.

Rep. Collins arrested by FBI; says he’ll seek re-election

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins is well within his rights to run for re-election while the federal government prosecutes him on a charge of insider trading.

The New York Republican, though, might be handing local and national Democrats a gift they never thought they’d get.

The FBI took Collins into custody on a charge that he gave insider trading information on stocks. The lawmaker then held a press event in which he declared the charge is “without merit.”

He then said he is going to run for re-election.

Good luck with that one, sir.

Collins has the distinction of being the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. He was No. 1. The leader of the congressional “pack.”

He’s not the first lawmaker to seek re-election while under investigation. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez did so, too. The Democrat wasn’t exactly cleared; the jury that heard his corruption case got hung up and couldn’t deliver a verdict, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.

Collins’s decision to stay on the ballot does carry huge risk, not just for him, but others within the GOP. He well might have given Democrats all across the land a huge cache of ammo to use against Republican opponents.

Beware the blue wave. There might be swells building at this moment.

Straight-ticket voting and the Trump coattail effect

Buried near the end of a typically excellent Texas Tribune analysis by Ross Ramsey, is an item that sent chills up my spine.

It reads: Straight-ticket voting accounted for 64 percent of all voting in the state’s ten largest counties in the 2016 general election. If that holds in 2018, almost two-thirds of the vote will be cast with more attention to party than person.

Ramsey’s analysis talks about the candidate whose name isn’t on the ballot: Donald J. Trump. If Trump’s approval numbers are up, Republicans will do well; if they’re down, Democrats might have a glimmer of hope.

Read the analysis here.

Why do I have the heebie-jeebies? Because I hate straight-ticket voting, no matter which party is up. The GOP is currently the “up party” in Texas.

What galls me to the max is that a healthy majority of voters in the state’s largest counties vote for the party rather than the individual.

Sad, man!

I live in one of the state’s larger counties these days. Collin County will figure mightily in the midterm election that is coming up quickly.

If only I could persuade state legislators to change the law, propose a constitutional amendment, do something proactive to force voters to examine every race individually before casting their ballots.

Spare me the idiocy that voters don’t have “the time” to look at these races when they step into the ballot box.

Parties shouldn’t matter more than the individual we elect to serve us, the people.

‘Lyin Ted’ wants ‘Amoral’ Donald to stump for him? Wow!

Oh, man, I want the president of the United States to accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s request to campaign for him in Texas.

You see, this is a potential “opposition research” gold mine for Democrats seeking to shoot down the Cruz Missile’s attempt at re-election to a second term in the Senate. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke — who’s in a neck-and-neck race with Cruz — ought to welcome it, too.

You’ve got Donald Trump’s infamous nickname for Cruz, who he labeled as “Lyin’ Ted” while competing against him for the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary campaign.

Then he posted that hideous picture of Heidi Cruz, the senator’s wife, on Twitter and sought to compare her unflatteringly with Melania Trump, the future president’s model-wife.

Let us not forget how the GOP nominee then sought to suggest that Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, might have been somehow complicit in President Kennedy’s assassination because he supposedly was seen sharing a meal with Lee Harvey Oswald.

All of this enraged Sen. Cruz. As it should have.

He launched into a scathing attack on Trump, calling him out for the way he treated his family; he called Trump “amoral” and a “pathological liar.” He said Trump has no moral grounding.

Has any of that changed in Sen. Cruz’s mind? He says it has. The public domain, however, is still loaded with those angry words of two years ago, which in reality he cannot take back.

And does Trump think differently now of the man he once called “Lyin’ Ted”? Hmm. I am betting … no!

By all means, Mr. President, come to Texas. Campaign for Cruz. If you come anywhere near where I live in the D/FW Metroplex, I’ll be there with bells on to listen to your off-the-rails campaign-rally speech.

I’ll be sure to have my notebook and pen in hand.

There’s winning and then there’s, um, ‘winning’

A win is a win. In politics, you win when you get more votes than the other candidate.

Then again, you’ve got the so-called “big picture,” or as they’re fond of saying these days, “the view from 30,000 feet.”

The Republican candidate for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, Troy Balderson, has more votes at this moment than his Democratic opponent, Danny O’Connor. Balderson got a boost at the last minute from Donald Trump, who ventured to central Ohio to stump for the GOP candidate.

No doubt the president will take credit for Balderson’s apparent victory. I say “apparent” because it’s damn close and they’re still waiting on those “provisional ballots” to be counted; analysts think O’Connor will win most of those votes. Whether they put him over the top remains to be seen. There might be an automatic recount as well if the final vote margin triggers the state-mandated recount law.

However, you’ve got another factor coming into play.

The 12th District is supposed to be one of Ohio’s most solidly Republican districts. Trump carried it by 11 points in 2016. It’s been represented by GOP members of Congress for more than 30 years.

Democrats are proclaiming some sort of moral victory. Republicans will state the obvious: Our guy got more votes than the other guy, that means our guy wins.

What does this razor thin margin mean in a district that the Republican should have won in a walk? It means — to me! — that the GOP may be in deep doo-doo as the 2018 midterm election approaches.

The nation’s top Republican, Donald John Trump Sr., is behaving like a man who fears what a special counsel might uncover about that “Russia thing.”

Where I come from, fecal matter still rolls downhill.

Please, Mr. POTUS, campaign for Ted Cruz

I have just heard that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has asked Donald J. Trump to campaign for him as he seeks re-election to his Senate seat in Texas.

Do you know what that means … for me? It means that there’s a decent chance I’ll be within easy driving distance of a Trump rally if he agrees to campaign in Texas for the Cruz Missile — who once called Trump an “amoral … pathological liar.”

We live just north of Dallas these days. We’ll be on the road for most of August, but we’ll have a lot of time on our hands after we return from our trip out west.

Oh, how I want the president to come here. I would actually attend a campaign rally for Cruz if it takes place anywhere near Collin County, where we live.

Hey, we live in a gigantic metro area comprising roughly 7.5 million residents. That means that if Trump agrees, he well might come, say, to Dallas or Fort Worth to speak on behalf of Cruz.

I want to attend one of those dog-and-pony shows.

I’m a political junkie. I love campaign rallies. I’ve covered two national presidential nominating conventions — the 1988 GOP convention in New Orleans and the 1992 GOP event in Houston. I attended the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte; I had planned to cover it for the Amarillo Globe-News, but I quit that job suddenly just before the start of the convention. I went there with press credentials, but sat in the cheap seats as a spectator.

All of them were a serious blast and I learned so much getting to watch these events up close.

Donald Trump speaking in Texas on behalf of the state’s junior U.S. senator would be a worthwhile event, too.

Do not expect me to flip, to become a Trumpster listening to the president’s ranting and railing, his insult-hurling rhetoric.

As the Houston Chronicle has reported: Cruz is facing a tougher re-election campaign than many first expected. Polls from the last week have shown Cruz holding onto a single-digit lead over (Beto) O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso who has set records for Democrats fundraising in Texas.

Let me be clear: I do not want Cruz to be re-elected. I am going to support the Democratic challenger, O’Rourke. But I do want the president to come here to give Texans an up-close look at what a buffoon he can be when he launches into one of those unscripted riffs in front of adoring fans.

Please, Mr. President. Come to Texas! Hey, the Metroplex ought to be a big lure.

Hoping for a big-time flip

This blog has revealed my partisan leaning. I won’t back away from it. I tilt more toward the Democratic Party than to the Republican Party. You know that already.

As such, my hope for the 2018 midterm election is that Congress flips from Republican control to Democratic control.

Why speak to this now, at this moment? They’re electing a new member of Congress tonight in central Ohio. It’s been a strongly GOP district since the 1980s. It was represented once by one of my favorite Republicans, Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

It well might flip to the Democrats.

Looking at the bigger picture, I want Democrats to take control of the House and Senate as a check against the goofball who serves as president of the United States, Republican (In Name Only) Donald John Trump.

I call Trump a RINO because he has captured the GOP in a way that I cannot yet fathom. His allies in Congress are providing effective political cover for a man who as near as I can tell adheres to no known Republican ideology. We have a cult of personality at work here and I believe it is important for Democrats to take back at least one congressional chamber to act as a hedge against the goofy pronouncements that pour out of POTUS’s mouth … and from his Twitter account.

Ohio’s 12th Congressional District might provide a harbinger of what could happen later this election year.

I think I’ll watch the returns and hope for what I consider to be the best.

Trump trashes Gipper’s 11th commandment

Wherever he is, the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, is an unhappy man.

President Reagan once invoked what he called the 11th commandment, which is that Republicans shouldn’t speak ill of other Republicans.

So, what does Donald Trump do? He endorses candidates within GOP state primaries, and speaks badly of those he opposes.

The president did so again in Kansas, backing secretary of state Chris Kobach. What’s worse is that Trump threw the incumbent governor, Jeff Colyer, under the proverbial bus.

This is totally outside the political norm. Presidents usually don’t get involved in primary battles. They hold their political fire for the general election. They back whoever their party — Republican or Democrat — nominates and then campaign against whoever they face in on Election Day.

Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is stronger than ever. He is demonstrating it now with his primary endorsement of Chris Kobach.

Wasn’t there a time when President Reagan was the GOP’s most beloved figure? If so, those days appear to be gone. I hope, for the party’s sake, they won’t be gone forever.

I’ll concede this final point: I didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980 or 1984 … but damn, I do miss him.

Why endorse in primaries?

A newspaper editorial endorsement for a political primary election brings to mind a decision I made several years before the end of my own journalism career.

It was that we shouldn’t make such an endorsement unless a primary race was tantamount to election, meaning that there would be no contested two-party primaries for that particular office.

The endorsement that got me thinking about the issue came from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which recommended former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in that state’s Republican primary.

Read the endorsement here.

It wasn’t always that way. I used to work for newspapers in Beaumont, Texas and in Oregon City, Ore. We made primary endorsements at those newspapers.

Then I moved to Amarillo to become editorial page editor of the Globe-News. After a period of time, I persuaded the publisher that primary endorsements were not nearly as relevant as general-election endorsements. So, why do them, especially when the candidates had another election in the fall?

Amarillo is in the middle of heavily Republican territory. In many instances, particularly in Randall County — which comprises the southern half (roughly) of Amarillo, Democrats damn near never run candidates for local offices. That means the GOP primary means the winner is all but assured of election, barring a surprise and successful write-in campaign.

We elected then to endorse only in those primary races featuring contests in just one party. That meant the Republican Party.

I came to realize that primaries are essentially a political party function. They are run by the political parties. The local party chairs are in charge of managing the ballots and ensuring that all the fees are paid.

If by chance there would be contested primaries in both major parties, we would take a pass on offering a recommendation in the primary; we preferred to wait for the general election campaign to make our recommendation known.

That was then. I now wonder whether newspaper endorsements mean anything any longer. Texas Gov. Rick Perry decided in 2010 to forgo any editorial board interviews with Texas newspapers; he was angry at the way newspapers treated him. The Globe-News that year endorsed former Houston Mayor Bill White, as did the vast majority of Texas newspapers. Gov. Perry won big anyway.

Donald Trump got few newspaper endorsements in 2016. You know how that election turned out.

If I had to do it all over again, I think I’d do it the way I decided to do it. No primary endorsements unless a party’s primary meant virtual election to office.

I also might give serious thought to giving up on the idea of offering endorsements for any race … ever!

I mean … what’s the point?

Senate races decided by differing factors

As I watch the Beto O’Rourke-Ted Cruz race for the U.S. Senate from Texas, I am struck by what is missing in the debate over who Texans should elect.

I am not hearing much chatter on which of these men will do more for Texas.

Will it be Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic congressman from El Paso, or Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent from Houston? Which of them will work tirelessly on behalf of Texans’ specific needs, wants and desires?

Am I missing something here?

There once was a day when U.S. senatorial clout mattered to the home folks. I want to cite an example from my home state of Oregon.

For years, Oregon was represented by two moderate Republicans: Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood. They were joined at the hip on many issues. They were linked to each other so closely that we in the media used to refer them as “Sen. Hatwood” or Sen. “Packfield.”

They both attained influential committee chairmanships beginning in 1981 when the GOP took control of the upper congressional chamber after Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in the 1980 presidential election.

Hatfield and Packwood worked diligently to protect Oregon and Pacific Northwest interests.

Along the way, Sen. Packwood ran into ethical trouble relating to the way he treated women who worked on his staff; Packwood ended up resigning his seat. Sen. Hatfield remained the Boy Scout.

As we look at the current day, in Texas, I don’t hear the kind of chatter about Sen. Cruz or, how well he works with Sen. John Cornyn, the state’s senior U.S. senator. My sense is that the two Texans have a bit of a frosty relationship.

Cruz’s tenure in the Senate seems to have centered on his own future. He ran for president in 2016 and was among the final GOP primary candidates to hang in against the party’s nominee before bowing out.

Cruz’s theme so far appears aimed at ginning up GOP interest to counteract rage from the other side. According to the Texas Tribune: “The biggest challenge I have in this race … is complacency,” Cruz said. “People say all the time, ‘Oh, come on, it’s a Texas re-elect. How could you possibly lose?’ Well, in an ordinary cycle, that might be true. But this is not an ordinary cycle. The far left is filled with anger and rage and we underestimate that anger at our peril.”

O’Rourke has closed a once-gaping deficit to make it a race. I’ll stipulate once again that I am pulling for O’Rourke to defeat Cruz.

I’m just waiting to hear from the challenger — or from the incumbent, for that matter — what they’ll do to help Texans.