Tag Archives: GOP

Romney speech put in perspective


I watched Mitt Romney blister the daylights out of Donald J. Trump on Thursday morning and all but cheered at my TV set as I watched the speech.

Then I thought a bit more about it and realized: Didn’t the 2012 Republican nominee support many of the positions for which he’s now blasting the 2016 GOP frontrunner? And isn’t the party to which he belongs culpable of the things associated with Trump?

One example stands out. You’ll recall Romney saying four years ago that he would make life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they would “self-deport” themselves back to their home country. Now he says Trump’s anti-immigrant position is inhumane.

The New York Times noted: “He also listed Mr. Trump’s offenses — ‘the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.’ Did Mr. Romney have any sense of irony when he said those words? For far too long, they could have been used to describe many in his party: legislators, congressional leadership, its policy makers.”

There was much to commend Romney’s remarks Thursday morning. Perhaps the most skillful put-down related to Trump’s denigrating the heroism exhibited by U.S. Sen. John McCain during the Vietnam War. Romney noted the “dark irony” of Trump saying McCain was a “war hero because he got captured.” Romney said that while McCain was being tortured by his North Vietnamese captors, Trump was gallivanting with married women.

I want Romney’s remarks to stick. I want them to make Republicans think long and hard about the man who says he wants to be their party’s nominee.

The reverse of what I want might occur. Instead of forcing GOP voters to turn away from Trump, Romney’s scathing rebuke might solidify Trump’s support among those primary voters who want to send some kind of message to the party high command.

Think about this, too. Mitt Romney embodies the very public policies embraced by the Republican establishment that’s become Donald Trump’s punching bag.


Trump confounds foes on all sides

trump and carson

Just how wacky is this presidential campaign?

I cannot identify any single source, but it seems as though we can find some element of that wackiness in this scenario.

Donald J. Trump is getting pounded by foes on both ends of the spectrum as he continues to lead the way among the Republican Party presidential candidates.

Consider this, for instance.

Intellectual conservatives say Trump isn’t one of them. They point to his statements in favor of a woman’s right to choose an abortion; they take note of his stance in favor of universal health care; they question why he has said President Bush “lied” the nation into fighting the Iraq War.

He’s not a true Republican, let alone a conservative Republican, which is where the party establishment has been leaning for the past decade or two.

The party establishment cannot stomach the idea of Trump being the party nominee. They fear what that would mean for the party’s control of the U.S. Senate and in the many statewide races across the country. Trump cannot possibly lead the Republican slate of candidates, they say.

Then we have those on the other end. I’m one of those folks.

Trump’s public presence is a ghastly reminder of how ignorant he is about government. He doesn’t understand the limits of the presidency. Trump’s stated intention is to do all manner of things by himself, or so one could be led to assume.

Many of us are horrified at the insults he has hurled: at a TV news anchor, at disabled people, at a U.S. senator’s distinguished military service, at voters of Iowa, at all of his political foes, at Hispanics.

He recently actually threatened the speaker of the House of Representatives, fellow Republican Paul Ryan, by saying he could pay a price if he and Trump don’t get along.

And, oh yes, there’s that feigned ignorance of who ex-Klansman David Duke is and what the organization to which he once belonged stands for.

Those on the right and those on the left cannot stand this guy.

But he’s leading the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination. Who’s voting for him?

Evangelical voters are giving him a pass for his acknowledged extramarital affairs. Hard-core Republicans are backing him because he “tells it like it is.”

They’re fed up with “politics as usual.”

Well, what they’re likely to get with Donald Trump is a brand new kind of politics never before seen.

You want wackiness? This guy is delivering it.


Political bloodbath on tap?


Five men are set to stand on a debate stage tonight in Houston.

Two of them are likely to unsheathe the long knives to use on each other.

A third man, the frontrunner, also is going to be a target.

Candidates No. 4 and 5?  I just hope they get to get a word in edge-wise.

Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio want to elbow each other out of the way to become the Republican Party “establishment” alternative to Donald J. Trump. For Cruz, the Houston debate has been called his “last stand,” or kind of an Alamo reference.

Rubio faces other obstacles, with polls showing him trailing Trump in his home state of Florida.

I continue to root for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who’s the fourth-place candidate — but the one who exhibits the most executive and legislative government experience. He’s a grownup, but in this election cycle, political adulthood isn’t seen as a plus. Too bad.

The fifth man on the stage? I sense that this likely will be Dr. Ben Carson’s last bow on the national political stage.

So, let’s watch the debate tonight and see how much “blood” gets spilled.

My sense is that it’s going to be a serious spectator-friendly event.


GOP fears its presidential frontrunner


So help me, I cannot remember the last time a leading major-party presidential candidate has stoked so much fear among those within the very party he wants to lead into the next election.

Donald J. Trump’s emergence from the ranks of unthinkable presidential nominee to a possible nominee has been a sight to behold — not that I have enjoyed beholding it.

Fellow Republican, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has tossed out an idea that (a) won’t go anywhere but (b) has some within the party actually considering it.

Ticket formation could come early.

Graham suggests that Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida ought to declare themselves a “ticket” to head off a Trump nomination. Graham — once a presidential candidate himself — doesn’t care which of them would head the ticket. He just wants two of the remaining five GOP presidential candidates to form an alliance to blunt the Trump charge.

There have been other “insurgencies,” to be sure.

Did the Democrats conspire against the candidacy of Sen. Eugene McCarthy and then Sen. Robert F. Kennedy when they challenged President Johnson in 1968? What about the 1976 GOP insurgency of former Gov. Ronald Reagan, who sought to wrest the nomination from President Ford?

This is different.

The very idea that the Republican Party could actually nominate someone with Trump’s background — as a reality TV celebrity, real estate mogul, and someone who’s boasted about his sexual exploits with women who were married to other men is sending the GOP “establishment” into apoplectic spasms.

As someone said only recently, the Party of Lincoln is becoming the Party of Trump.

Take a moment. Roll that around for a bit and consider what it really means to a once-great political institution.


Trump gets nailed … from the right!


I don’t know much at all about Matt Walsh, other than he writes a pretty good essay.

He’s a conservative writer and blogger. He has written a lengthy treatise for The Blaze, a conservative website.

Here it is.

I want to encourage folks to read it.

The subject of the blog is Donald J. Trump. It’s a sort of open letter to the Trumpsters who just love the reality TV personality/real estate mogul/newly minted politician/Republican presidential frontrunner.

Trumpsters say they admire Trump because he “tells it like it is.” Well, according to Walsh, Trump is as much of a liar as all the rest of Planet Earth he’s branded with that epithet.

The crux of Trump’s lies can be found in his supposed embrace of conservative principles. Walsh has called him out on it. He’s also called him out for all the hypocrisy that Trump has demonstrated throughout his adult life.

He blasts him for his grotesque language, his behavior, his callowness, his hideous assertions about anything and just about anybody.

Walsh is speaking as a conservative. Indeed, conservatives have been none too bashful about expressing their distaste for the idea of Donald J. Trump carrying the Republican Party banner into battle this fall against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

To be blunt, the idea of a Trump nomination has me torn. It’s pulling me in many directions.

Am I inclined to support any of the leading candidates for the GOP nomination? Probably not. The only Republican still standing that I would consider voting for, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, isn’t likely to make it to the finish line.

But of all the leading candidates seeking the GOP nod, Trump is the most dangerous, the most ill-suited, the most repulsive candidate at any level. He’s also the least likely to win the election this fall.

Do I want the party to nominate him? No. Why? Because I believe in a strong two-party system and the Republican Party needs to come to its senses in a big hurry.

Am I a huge fan of Hillary Clinton? Not really. However, considering my own bias and my own presidential voting track record, she is likely to get my vote this fall — particularly if the Republican nominee is Donald Trump.

I do not want Trump anywhere near the White House, near The Button, near the levers of government. He doesn’t know the first thing about how any of it works.

Indeed, he seems to embody the very thing that one of his vanquished foes, Jeb Bush, talked about when he ended his own presidential campaign this past weekend. Bush talked of how presidents are one of us. They serve the people and are not our “masters,” he said.

Matt Walsh has laid it out there for all of those Trumpsters to ponder.

My hunch — and my fear — is that they won’t ponder a thing. It’ll just make them love their hero even more.

For my money, though, he offers a blistering — and much-deserved — critique of someone who’s making a mockery of a once-great political party.


Trump breaks all the rules


It’s become almost a cliché these days to note how Donald J. Trump has broken all the standard political rules.

He has gone on record as supporting abortion on demand, single-payer health insurance, he’s given money to Hillary Clinton’s previous campaigns, he calls the Iraq War a “huge mistake.”

The Republican Party primary base of voters would seem to oppose him on every one of those issues.

They love the guy. He won again tonight in South Carolina’s Republican primary.

Another rule — generally speaking — is to pay some kind of tribute to a vanquished foe. Tonight the foe was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who bowed out of the campaign. Bush congratulated “the other candidates” who fared better than he did; I presume he included Trump among them.

Did the victor of tonight’s South Carolina primary return a compliment to Bush? Umm. No.

He ignored Jeb Bush. He passed over any mention.

Another rule of good manners … broken!

Will it matter to those who just adore Trump? Hardly.

This has become a campaign where all the standard norms of decent behavior have been tossed aside.

Go … bleeping … figure.




Justice Biden? Maybe?


I’ll toss a name out there for President Obama to consider for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Joseph Biden.

The vice president told Rachel Maddow last night that he has “no interest” in serving on the court. The MSNBC host had asked him directly if he’d consider the appointment if it were offered. He has “no interest.”

Is that a blanket, categorical refusal to serve? No. It isn’t. It means, more or less, the same thing as when a politician says he has “no intention of running” for a particular office.

“No intention” can be parsed to mean that “no intention … at this moment.” So, when a politician says he or she has “no interest” in a particular job, one can possibly suggest that the pol is speaking in the present tense.

Biden predicted that Obama will pick a centrist. He said the president won’t likely pick a flaming liberal jurist in the mold of William Brennan to fill the seat vacated by shocking death of archconservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

He’s also said that a nominee should have GOP support.

Hmmm. Let me think. Who might that be?

Oh, how about the vice president? He’s got many Republican friends in the Senate. He’s proven his ability to work well with GOP lawmakers. He once chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee.

My hunch is that he’d be more of a moderate than a flamer.

OK, he’s also pretty long in the tooth. He might not want to stay in the public eye. The vice president has had a long public service career — and he’s just lost his beloved son, Beau, to cancer. Not only that, the president has given him a task to lead the effort to find a cure for the killer disease.

However, as a fan of the vice president, I happen to think he might be one court candidate who could pass senatorial muster.


Obama, GOP both spoiling for a fight to the finish


Here’s where we appear to be standing with regard to that vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Obama said today he intends to select an “indisputably qualified” person to fill the seat vacated by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

U.S. Senate Republicans say they intend to block anyone the president nominates.

Who’s on the right side? In my view, it’s not even close.

The president is right. GOP senators are wrong.

Indeed, it’s looking now as though that no matter who gets the call from the president that he or she is going to face a serious fight.

My hunch now is that Barack Obama welcomes the fight. Why? He will wage it from a position of strength.

He’s got the Constitution on his side.

This appointment could change the makeup of the court, which has a slim conservative majority among its members.

Right there is the crux of Republican obstructionism.

Justice Scalia was the shining light among the conservatives serving on the court. He led what’s been called a “conservative renaissance.” His brilliance was beyond question. So was his commitment to conservative principles.

President Obama has another year left in his term. Some have suggested that if Republicans were to get their way, they effectively would eliminate the fourth year of the president’s term. They oppose — on some made-up principle — the idea of a lame-duck president making an appointment to the Supreme Court. They want the next president to make the call.

Well, as Obama said today, those who claim to adhere to strict constitutional principles are creating them out of thin air. The Constitution says the president should nominate people to the federal bench and that the Senate should vote up or down on those nominations.

Both sides are spoiling for a fight. So, let’s have at it.

Barack Obama is set to throw the first punch when he nominates someone to the highest court in the land.

Go for it, Mr. President.


GOP fretting like crazy over Trump, Cruz


The drama being played out in the inner circles of the Republican Party national network is among the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen.

Two men have emerged as co-favorites for the GOP presidential nomination — and the party brass is none too happy about either of them.

Donald J. Trump has managed to insult his way to the top of the still-large GOP heap; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas antagonized his Senate colleagues to the point that it’s no generally understood that, well, no one on Capitol Hill likes, or even respects, the junior senator.

Republican statesmen, such as Robert Dole, say a Cruz nomination would bring “cataclysmic” losses to the party; it could cost Republicans control of the Senate and bring Democrats within striking distance of getting control of the House.

Aw, but today’s firebrands label the likes of former Sen. Dole as “has been,” “loser,” “RINO.”

That’s their view. It’s not mine.

Trump is now calling himself a conservative. His prior public statements about such things as abortion and universal health care betray his claim, according to so-called “true conservatives.”

But there he is. Looking down from atop the GOP heap. He’s going after Cruz’s eligibility to run for president. He’s feuding with a broadcast journalist. He’s managed to insult Iowa voters, Hispanics, Muslims, our allies abroad, every working politician in Washington, D.C., women, reporters and editors . . . and others I can’t even think of at the moment.

Hey, it’s all OK with those who think Trump is “fresh.”


As for Ted Cruz, well, he took his senatorial oath in January 2013 and began hunting for every open microphone he could find. He had his presidential ambitions planned out even before winning a contest in his first political election . . . ever!

He’s trampled over Senate colleagues, broken long-established Senate rules of decorum by calling the body ‘s majority leader a liar. He questioned whether decorated Vietnam War veterans, such as Secretary of State John Kerry and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, had a true appreciation for the military; and this came from someone who never donned a military uniform!

The Republican Party has a problem, all right.

What will the GOP do? How will it deny either of these men its presidential nomination?

Given that so few of us have ever seen such intraparty angst, I’m afraid the Grand Old Party is on its own.

Good luck, ladies and gents.


DeLay’s the latest GOPer to skewer Trump


I am no fan of former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom “The Hammer” DeLay . . . but you knew that already.

However, the fiery Texan has written an essay that conservatives such as himself should take to heart.

Take a look.

DeLay questions the Republican presidential campaign frontrunner’s commitment to Christian principles. He said the next president ought to be a conservative who bases his political beliefs on Scripture.

DeLay also takes a shot at what he calls Trump’s “clumsy” pandering to evangelicals at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., when he cited “Two Corinthians,” apparently not knowing that the common reference to that New Testament book is “Second Corinthians.”

He then wonders aloud just how a President Trump — my fingers still tremble when I write those two words — would make sure that retail outlets instruct their staffers to wish customers “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season. How would he do that? DeLay wondered. “By executive order?”

DeLay is just the latest political conservative to reveal what many of us on the other side of the fence have believed for a very long time, which is that Trump is a phony.

In this crazy, goofy and bizarre political environment, though, Trump’s brand of phoniness is more appealing to his true believers than the so-called phony rhetoric coming from “establishment politicians.”