Tag Archives: GOP

McConnell campaign goes national

It’s interesting to me how some ostensibly local races gain national attention.

One of them involves Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who’s in a tough for fight for re-election against Democratic nominee Allison Lundergan Grimes.

McConnell’s future is the subject if a large New York Times Magazine article by Jonathon Miller.


Grimes isn’t going to accept any political advice from yours truly, but I’ll offer it anyway.

If she wants to hang something around McConnell’s neck, she ought to dig up the video of McConnell saying that his No. 1 goal, his top priority back in 2009 was to make Barack Obama a “one-term president.” He’d block everything the president proposes. He would fight him every step of the way. He would obstruct and derail every initiative coming from the White House.

That’s what McConnell said. He said it with emphasis. By golly, I believe he meant it. It was a promise he made to the nation, not to mention to the people of Kentucky.

How did the Senate’s minority leader deliver on his promise to the nation? Not very well. President Obama was re-elected in 2012 with 65 million votes, 51.7 percent of the total, 332 electoral votes.

So, Sen. McConnell’s top priority will have gone unmet.

Grimes ought to make that a signature issue of her campaign, along with whatever positive alternatives she proposes if she wins the Senate seat.

I think it’s a winner.


'Perry vs. Cruz' enters new phase

Whether the governor of Texas actually serves any jail time if he’s convicted of anything illegal remains an open question.

I doubt he’ll be eating jail food. I’m not even sure he’ll be convicted.

Rick Perry’s indictment for allegedly abusing the power of his office, however, does bring into question whether he’ll be able to challenge for the White House in 2016. Why, he’s not even the most popular Texas conservative thinking about running for the presidency.


U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is the darling of the conservative movement these days, although Perry’s been making inroads with the Republican Party base. He deployed 1,000 National Guard troops to protect us against those children fleeing repression in Central America, which of course has the GOP faithful all fired up.

Texas GOP voters, though, seem to like Cruz’s fiery rhetoric. “As the Texas Tribune reports: Even before his recent legal troubles, Perry was already operating in Cruz’s shadow, as most conservative activists in attendance made clear they would rather see the freshman senator vie for the White House in two years than the three-term governor.”

The indictment issued in Travis County is resonating far beyond the Texas capital city. It gives the governor one more potential embarrassment that he must put behind him. His brief run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination ended badly in a series of missteps, misstatements, forgetfulness and downright weird behavior.

Now this.

Say this, though, for Cruz. He’s coming to his friend’s defense, issuing this statement: “Unfortunately, there has been a sad history of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office engaging in politically-motivated prosecutions, and this latest indictment of the governor is extremely questionable. Rick Perry is a friend, he’s a man of integrity – I am proud to stand with Rick Perry. The Texas Constitution gives the governor the power to veto legislation, and a criminal indictment predicated on the exercise of his constitutional authority is, on its face, highly suspect.”

That statement isn’t likely to improve Perry’s possible presidential campaign chances. Look for Cruz to ramp up the conservative rhetoric, hitting every GOP base hot button he can find, even at his “friend’s” expense.

You go, ex-VP Cheney

Say what you will about Dick Cheney — and I’ve said more than my share in recent months — he’s a serious politician with serious ideas.

OK, so I cannot stand the former vice president’s constant carping about the administration that succeeded the one in which he was a key player. I cannot stomach that he cannot keep his trap shut about foreign policy issues, as he is undermining President Obama and Vice President Biden.

But this serious man said a serious thing about impeaching the president.

He calls such talk a “distraction.”


Cheney was referring specifically to an unserious politician’s talk about impeachment. That would be the former half-term Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who’s weighed in with some notion that the president needs to be impeached. She hasn’t specified the high crimes and misdemeanors of which he is supposedly guilty.

It doesn’t matter, frankly. There aren’t any misdeeds that rise to anything close to an impeachable offense.

Still, Cheney is right to call down his GOP colleague — if only gently. He said he likes the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee. Cheney says she has a right to her opinion, which of course is quite correct. It’s just that she’s wrong on almost everything that flies out of her mouth.

For that matter, so is Cheney.

On this issue, though, he is right … to the extent he has spoken out at all about impeaching Barack Obama.

Cheney told CNN: “I’m not prepared, at this point, to call for the impeachment of the president. I think he is the worst president of my lifetime. I fundamentally disagree with him. I think he’s doing a lot of things wrong. I’m glad to see House Republicans are challenging him, at least legally, at this point, but I think that gets to be a bit of a distraction just like the impeachment of Bill Clinton did.”

He’s not going to give President Obama any kind of a break, to be sure. That’s expected.

Still, he’s trying to quell the nut-case talk among those on the right wing of his once-great political party. I’ll give him a modicum of credit for that.

Tea party winning as it's losing

It’s time to give credit where it most definitely is due to the tea party wing of the once-Grand Old Republican Party.

Even when it loses it wins.

Take the race for U.S. senator in Mississippi this week. Sen. Thad Cochran beat back a stout challenge from tea party Republican Chris McDaniel. But did Cochran campaign in the GOP runoff on his ability to work with Democrats, or on his ability to funnel lots of money to his home state? Oh no. He campaigned on his conservative record — which he has established — and by telling Mississippians that he’s as conservative as they are.


I am no longer paying much never-mind to these predictions of the tea party’s death, resurrection and death yet again. The tea party wing of the GOP has won the debate.

It has dragged normally thoughtful conservatives into the rage pit right along with them. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is as “establishment Republican” as they come. Now, though, he’s suing President Obama because the president has taken some executive action that has angered the tea party wing of the GOP. That means Boehner is mad, too.

Here in Texas, tea party Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick yanked Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst so far to the right that Dewhurst never got his legs under him or found his voice. He looked and sounded awkward trying to be as out there as Patrick, who’s smooth, articulate and glib. Patrick beat Dewhurst in the Texas GOP runoff.

Across the state, Republicans are sounding more alike all the time — meaning they’ve adopted the do-nothing mantra so popular among tea party officeholders in Washington.

There once was a Republican Party with pols who could work well with Democrats. Two come to mind immediately: the late U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas. There’ve been others, but those two men stand out in my own mind. Dirksen was pals with President Lyndon Johnson and helped LBJ enact civil rights and voting rights legislation in the mid-1960s. Dole was a dear friend of the late Democratic U.S. Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota. It helped that the two men both were World War II heroes and had a shared bond of military service. They also worked hand-in-hand on anti-hunger legislation.

Dole and Dirksen would be laughed out of the Senate chamber today.

The tea party’s strength can be seen in the debate that’s raging within the Republican Party — if you want to call it that when virtually all Republicans now are singing off the tea party song sheet.

The tea party, therefore, is winning, even when it’s losing.

GOP 'outraged' over VA mess?

Jon Talton is a former colleague — and current friend — of yours truly.

He writes a blog that is at times biting and always insightful.

His link here discusses the resignation of Eric Shinseki as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but it contains a single sentence relating to Republican outrage over what’s happened at the VA.


Jon’s point about the GOP’s phony outrage is spot on.

Granted, Shinseki needed to take the fall for what’s happened at the VA health care system. Much of this mess happened on his watch, but not all of it.

Perhaps just as outrageous, though, has been the reaction by congressional Republican leaders over Shinseki’s departure. They’ve said it’s not enough that the VA secretary leave office. They want more heads to roll.

And this is all coming from the same do-nothings who have refused to give financial support to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Let’s remember this. The stingy lawmakers, those who express their undying support for our veterans while refusing to authorize the expenditures needed to give them the help they deserve, now are seeking to channel every shred of blame to the individuals they have hamstrung with their stinginess.

As my pal Talton notes in his blog, “The episode is full of irony and hypocrisy.”

GOP getting unhappy over IRS probe

Might there be some restiveness brewing within Republican congressional ranks?

It appears, according to Politico.com, that some GOP members of Congress are getting a bit tired of the incessant probing, questioning and spending of taxpayer money over a controversy that seems to have run out of steam.


You remember the Internal Revenue Service “scandal” that boiled up nearly a year ago when it was learned that the most loathed agency in the federal government was vetting conservative political action groups’ request for tax-exempt status? Remember when all that broke?

It was considered a big deal because some folks feared that the IRS got its marching orders from the White House, perhaps from within the Oval Office itself. Heck, maybe the president himself awoke in the wee hours one morning, picked up the phone and called the IRS himself and ordered the agency to stick it to those right-wingers, correct?

Well, none of that seems to have happened. Instead, the IRS acted apparently as it is charged to do — with liberal and conservative groups alike — and vetted tea party groups carefully to ensure that they didn’t violate federal tax status laws. Investigators have determined that all decisions reportedly were made by field office personnel; they were not mandated by White House directives.

None of that has satisfied House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who keeps beating the drum looking for something — anything! — that ties this controversy to President Obama’s shirt tail.

It turns out some of his GOP colleagues — not to mention Democratic House members — are getting weary of it.

“There is a perception that if your case is rock-solid, it doesn’t need months to sort it out,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who is considered a probable successor to Issa as chairman, given that Issa is being term-limited out of the chairman’s seat at the end of the current Congress.

The case has been far from rock-solid. In fact, it has been shown to be mushy soft and full of holes.

Let’s get off this one, Mr. Chairman, and get back to legislating — which is what we pay our lawmakers to do.

Santorum says Cruz harming the GOP

Rick Santorum knows an extremist when he sees one.

The one-time Republican senator from Pennsylvania and former GOP presidential candidate once blamed contraception as a source of what ails America today. So it is with that intimate knowledge of wacky political rhetoric that he has declared that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has harmed the Republican Party’s brand with rank-and-file American voters.


Santorum says Cruz is “a face” of the party, not “the face” of it. Cruz’s effort to use defunding the Affordable Care Act as a weapon to shut down the government wasn’t helpful to the cause, which Santorum says is just. He, too, wants to get rid of the ACA. Santorum didn’t think much of Cruz’s fake filibuster, nor does he seem to like the fact that Cruz is everywhere all at once declaring his intention to “do whatever it takes” to get rid of the ACA.

One problem with Santorum’s critique of his fellow Republican, Cruz, is that Cruz doesn’t care that he harms the party. He has done himself more good than harm, if you are to believe some of the polls and the political chatter back home in Texas.

That’s what matters to the freshman senator, who in just nine months has elevated his profile to a level far more visible than many of the more senior members of the body in which he serves.

He’s acting like he wants to run for president in 2016. For that matter, so is Santorum.

Come to think of it, that might explain why one potential GOP conservative candidate for president is criticizing the antics of another one.

Whatever. Santorum makes sense when sizing up the contributions of Ted Cruz to his party’s cause.

Ex-GOP boss right about impeachment talk

Michael Steele offers living, breathing proof that the Republican Party hasn’t been overrun completely by those with lunatic notions.

Republicans who are full of all those crazy ideas, though, are hogging the platform.

Steele, the former Republican National Committee chairman, told MSNBC that talk of impeaching President Obama is “asinine.” You got it that right.


The latest impeachment talk came from, yep, another Texas Republican member of Congress. The goofball this time is Blake Farenthold, who told a small group of fans and supporters that the House of Representatives could impeach the president, but that he wouldn’t be convicted in a Senate trial.

Farenthold doesn’t specify on what charge the House would impeach the president. Why? Because nothing exists. He seems to be among those on the far right who dislike the president’s policies so much that they want to throw him out of office.

What an utter crock.

My hope is that Michael Steele and other reasonable Republicans can outshout the loons within his party. Clear your throat, Mr. Chairman.