Tag Archives: GOP

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.

Yes, it’s all about race … and gender

As I listen to the pathetic responses from Donald J. Trump’s defenders regarding those racist tweets and related statements about those four congresswoman, the more I am inclined to shake my head in total disgust.

The president told the four congresswomen, all Democrats of color, they could return to the countries “where they came from” if they “hated” America so much. They have been protesting Trump’s immigration policies and the treatment of migrant families — including children — who are seeking asylum as they flee countries in Latin America. Of course, it needs to be said again that three of the women were born in the United States; the fourth is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Trump’s congressional defenders, all Republicans, say the president’s remarks aren’t racist. He “never mentioned race” in the tweets, they say, adding that his verbal remarks also are silent on the race or ethnicity of the women. Therefore, they says, he hasn’t initiated a racist narrative.

To borrow a phrase: That is pure bullsh**!

Trump’s statements are commonly uttered to put down racial and ethnic minorities. Does anyone really believe he would have said a such a thing had the Democratic lawmakers been, say, blonde-haired, blue-eyed males who trace their ethnic heritage to western Europe?

That’s the point here. Trump didn’t need to invoke the women’s ethnicity to deliver a racist and sexist diatribe. He did not need to state categorically that he was angry with them because of their ethnic background or that they are females.

The tweets and his assorted public statements have been soaked in racist intent. He plays to his base, the folks who in that North Carolina political rally yelled “Send her back!” while their hero, Trump, stood there for 13 seconds letting them rant and chant their hatred toward one of the congresswomen.

When was the last time any of us have watched and listened to a president of the United States conduct himself in this manner? That’s right. Never! Until now!

Disgraceful.

Trump has cast a weird spell over the GOP

I will be mystified likely forever, as in for the rest of my life on Earth, at how Donald Trump has managed to hijack the Republican Party.

It manifests itself in the amazing 180-degree turnaround of at least two former prominent foes of the president.

I want to highlight briefly the amazing about-face performed by two U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas. To be fair, not all Republicans have swilled the Kool-Aid from Trump’s dispenser. Freshman U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah is one who remains (more or less) faithful to his 2016 declaration that Trump is a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Graham and Cruz? That’s another matter.

I have attached a link from CNN.com that illustrates what Sen. Cruz said in 2016 about his Republican Party primary opponent, Donald John Trump. Read it here.

Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar.” He blistered Trump then over that hideous allegation that Cruz’s father might have been complicit in President Kennedy’s murder and of course the ghastly tweet involving Heidi Cruz, the wife of the senator.

These days Cruz sings from an entirely different political hymnal. He’s one of the president’s closest allies in the Senate. He follows Trump step for step into whatever the next adventure brings.

It’s not nearly as dramatic a reversal as the one Sen. Graham has performed.

During the 2016 primary campaign, in which Graham was another Trump foe, he called the eventual GOP nominee everything short of being the Son of Satan. Unfit for office. A liar. Amoral. Architect of party ruination. You name it, Graham said Trump fit the bill. It was all bad, man.

Now that Trump is POTUS, Graham has become arguably the Senate’s most vocal Trump apologist. It’s as if, as Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George F. Will has said, he became “an invertebrate.” He lost his spine, not to mention body parts common among males … if you get my drift and I’m sure you do.

There’s also this: Graham led the impeachment effort against President Clinton in 1998 while serving in the House, which then impeached Clinton on charges that are far less egregious than the allegations that have been leveled against Donald Trump.

Go … figure!

All this leads me to wonder out loud: How in the world did this carnival barker, con man, charlatan, fraudulent liar cast such a lasting spell over politicians who make up the guts of what used to be a great American political party?

I do not get it.

Another GOP pol abandons the party because of POTUS

We’ve been hearing this sort of thing over the past couple of years.

Republican politicians are leaving their party because it has been hijacked by an individual who prior to assuming public office had no discernible relationship with the Republican Party.

Members of Congress have bolted their party. State legislators have done the same. This politician, though, deserves a brief mention here.

A Texas judge — a former member of the state’s highest criminal appellate court — has quit the GOP because she says Donald Trump has turned the party into an organization that believes in “racism” as an ideology.

Elsa Alcala, a Houston resident who has retired from the bench, blistered the president because of his recent Twitter tirade against four Democratic members of Congress.

According to the Washington Post: “Even accepting that Trump has had some successes (and I believe these are few), at his core, his ideology is racism,” the 55-year-old retired judge wrote Monday in a Facebook post. “To me, nothing positive about him could absolve him of his rotten core.”

Ouch. Are you feeling the burn?

Also, from the Post: “Trump speaks about brown people like me as lesser beings. It’s cliché to say, but the Republican Party left me.”

Yes, Alcala is a Latina. Alcala retired from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Alcala takes personal offense at the sound and tone of Trump’s tweets against the four Democratic members of Congress. To her, the president symbolizes racism.

That is what she heard. It is what many millions of Americans are hearing as well. Something tells me Judge Alcala is far from the final Republican politician to sever ties with a once-great political party.

POTUS lays out his re-election strategy in stark terms

Voters should have no doubt — none whatsoever — about the strategy Donald J. Trump will employ as he seeks re-election as president of the United States.

It will be to talk only to his base and to say to rest of the country — the roughly 60 percent of us who detest this individual — you all may go straight to hell!

Trump fired off those hideous tweets about the four congresswoman, all of whom are women of color. He told them if they don’t like it in this country they are welcome to return to where they came from. Oh, wait! Three of them were born in the United States; the fourth emigrated here when she was 12 from Somalia. They’re all U.S. citizens.

Their sin! They disagree with Trump’s policies, which makes ’em America haters, in POTUS’s view. Indeed, on Tuesday he acknowledged that, too, saying that because they disagree with him that they hate the United States.

Hmm. Ponder that for a moment. Did that mean when Trump campaigning for president and he was calling out President Obama’s policies and the individuals who crafted them as “stupid” that he, too, “hated America”?

Trump laid down all his cards, though, when asked whether he should be alarmed that white supremacists are in league with his statements about the four House members. He said he doesn’t care about that because “a lot of Americans agree with me.”

There … you … go!

He will seek to energize his base of supporters, seek to demonize his foes. Trump will continue his Divide and Conquer Strategy in 2020, just as he was able to do successfully in 2016.

He justifies the racist Twitter tirade because many Americans agree with him. With that statement, he all but acknowledges that he has decided against expanding his base, that he will not reach out to other Americans, that he will do nothing unify a divided nation.

He will enrage Democrats, pander to Republicans. Oh, and look for him to seek to eke out the same kind of victory he got in ’16: forgoing the actual vote in favor of an Electoral College squeaker.

This guy needs to be kicked out of office. Impeachment might not work. The only plausible strategy likely will have to involve ballots.

Memo to AOC: You’re playing with fire

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is beginning to get on my nerves. As in really getting on my nerves.

The rookie New York City congresswoman is seeking to disrupt the political power structure within the Democratic Party by challenging one of her fellow Democrats, who also happens to one of the more skilled politicians ever to lead the U.S. House of Representatives.

AOC needs to mind her manners. I don’t mean to suggest that she sits silently on the back bench of the House. I do mean to suggest that Ocasio-Cortez is getting far more attention than she deserves this early in her congressional career.

Pelosi vs. AOC heats up

The freshman lawmaker is re-igniting her feud with Pelosi by hitting back at the speaker, who criticized Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left pols in the House for their outspokenness. She said all they have is “social media” and added that there’s no outright support among the rank and file to back them up.

AOC, of course, said she does have “public sentiment” on her side, which is to demand immediate impeachment of Donald Trump. Pelosi is digging in against that idea, saying it is too early and that she wants significant Republican buy-in were she to initiate impeachment proceedings against the GOP president.

I tend to side with Pelosi, although the evidence does seem to be mounting that the president has committed impeachable offenses. Pelosi, the shrewd pol that she is, understands that to impeach the president in the House cannot guarantee removal from office, given the Republicans’ control of the Senate, which must put the president on trial. Moreover, the bar for conviction is much higher than it is for impeachment; the Senate needs 67 votes to convict, while the House only needs a simple majority to impeach.

Pelosi is the veteran here. She is the politician with lots of wisdom and knowledge of how the system works. She also is every bit as ideologically progressive as AOC and her other congressional newbie allies.

The only difference is that Speaker Pelosi knows better than to rush headlong into a confrontation that she well could lose.

Pelosi knows how Boehner felt?

She likely would dislike the comparison, but I’ll make it anyway: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is feeling some of the pain that was inflicted on one of her predecessors, former Speaker John Boehner.

Indeed, Pelosi handed the gavel over to Boehner when Republicans took control of the House in 2011; she was speaker during the previous congressional session, but the Democrat had to surrender her speakership to the GOP and to Boehner.

What happened to Boehner? He ran into the TEA Party buzz saw that made his speakership a form of holy hell. He eventually quit the House and disappeared from public life.

Now it’s Pelosi’s turn to deal with renegade elements within her political party. The culprits this time are the likes of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. They are the progressives in her Democratic caucus who don’t want to wait any longer before launching impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. They’ve seen enough and want action … now!

Pelosi ain’t budging. She doesn’t want to impeach the president, at least not yet. She wants more evidence. She wants some Republican buy-in, but so far she isn’t getting it.

Will this intraparty fight doom her speakership the way the GOP’s internal struggle sent Speaker Boehner heading for the door? Oh, I doubt it. However, it does go to show that divergent views do have this way of causing sleeplessness among political leaders, no matter which side of the aisle they do business.

Back bencher bails on GOP … will there be more?

Justin Amash used to belong to the Republican Party while serving as a congressman from a reliably Republican district in Michigan.

How reliable is it? Grand Rapids, Mich., used to be represented in the House of Representatives by Gerald R. Ford, who went on to become the nation’s 38th president. If there was anyone who was more “establishment Republican” than President Ford, then he or she has been hiding in the tall grass for generations.

Amash bailed on the GOP this week. He is the lone GOP House member to sign on to the call to impeach Donald J. Trump. He believes Trump has committed crimes against his high office and the Constitution. Yet his formerly fellow Republicans are having none of it. Now, Amash is having none of them.

He is now an independent. Rumors are flying that he will run for president in 2020 — as a libertarian! Well, good luck with that.

Actually, I admire Amash for sticking to his principles. He likely won’t change any Republican minds by leaving the party. There are those of us out here in this vast nation of ours who believe he is right, that the president did commit crimes that have risen (or sunk!) to the level of impeachment.

He isn’t going to place fealty to the president or to his former political party over the principle of adhering to the law and defending the Constitution.

Is this former GOP back bencher going to move to the front rank of politicians? We will need to see how that plays out. My hope is that he does. My concern is that he will disappear.

My congressman is being seen more than heard

I had a chance to visit for a few minutes this week with my new congressman, a young man named Van Taylor. He’s a Republican, a former Marine and a former Texas state legislator from Plano.

I have no clue on Earth what kind of lawmaker he will become as he represents Texas’s Third Congressional District. However, I want to say something positive about the style he has adopted while settling in to his new responsibilities writing federal law.

He’s been quiet. One does not see Van Taylor on TV during every news cycle. Why? I reckon he wants to earn his spurs before he stands before the media to pontificate about this or that public policy matter. He says he prefers trying to build bipartisan bridges, working quietly across the aisle with Democrats.

I will concede a couple of points about Taylor.

First, he succeeds a legendary congressman, Sam Johnson, the former Air Force pilot who had the back fortune of being shot down during the Vietnam War and was held captive for seven years in the Hanoi Hilton; he spent most of his confinement in solitary quarters. It would be terribly bad form, therefore, for young Rep. Taylor to hog the spotlight while serving under the enormous shadow of the man he followed into the House of Representatives.

Second, he is a member of the minority party in the House. Democrats took control of the body after the 2018 midterm election. That means in many cases, Republicans’ voices aren’t as, oh, meaningful as those that come from Democratic throats.

Make no mistake, the Democratic majority has its boatload of media blowhards. They’re all rookie lawmakers, too. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is everywhere, it seems. There’s also Rashida Tlaib of Minnesota, Katie Porter of California and, I don’t know, maybe a dozen or more of them out there.

My representatives is taking a much more respectful approach to working his way into the limelight, if he ever gets to that point.

I just prefer the newbies in the House and Senate to earn their place before swallowing up all that air time and newsprint.

You’re off to a good start, Rep. Taylor.