Tag Archives: Mike Pence

‘Lodestar’ emerges as an entrapment tool

Vice President Mike Pence likes to use the word “lodestar,” an archaic word not usually associated with 21st-century normal word usage.

So, when the word “lodestar” showed up in that New York Times op-ed essay written by some mystery man or woman, many observers stated their belief that the VP had to be the author of the piece.

Pence denies writing it. And that begs the question: Was the vice president set up by someone else?

Pence told Fox News’s Chris Wallace he didn’t know if that’s the case. Well, I’ll offer a wild guess: Yes, someone tried to implicate Pence with the use of the term “lodestar,” which defines how you navigate a ship.

The NYT essay is full of assertions that have sent Donald Trump into a fit of apoplexy and outright rage. It says a “resistance” team is working to prevent Trump from acting on his more frightening instincts.

Would the team include Pence? I suppose it could, given the VP’s own history as a member of Congress and a governor of Indiana. He has legitimate government experience, something that Trump lacked the moment he declared his presidential candidacy.

But … the vice president is trying to clear himself of any responsibility regarding this anonymous essay. Good luck with that, Mr. VPOTUS.

If he doesn’t know who set him up with the “lodestar” reference, I kind of believe Vice President Pence needs to get busy looking for whoever is responsible.

B’bye, Sheriff Joe, and don’t let the door hit you

Now, maybe — one can hope — Joe Arpaio will disappear from the public stage.

The man known colloquially as Sheriff Joe lost his Arizona Republican primary bid this week to win election to the U.S. Senate. Thank goodness for that!

He finished third in a three-candidate field seeking to succeed retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, a conservative Republican and a man with principles and guts.

Arpaio wasn’t your run-of-the-mill losing candidate. He once was sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. He also got into trouble with the federal judiciary by ignoring a court order to cease profiling Hispanics who he suspected of being in this country illegally.

For his defiance, he was convicted of a federal offense. But then Donald J. Trump — Arpaio’s newfound political “hero” — pardoned him before he was sentenced for the crime he committed.

And to think that Vice President Mike Pence went to Arizona to campaign for Arpaio, calling him a man who stood “for the rule of law.” Hell, he stood for nothing of the sort! He stood for defying the federal judiciary and, therefore, for breaking the law.

The New York Times called Arpaio a “sadistic” man. That’s good enough for me.

Hit the road, Sheriff Joe. And stay out of sight.

Pence is facing a dilemma

They’re going to salute and commemorate the life and public service of the late Sen. John McCain in a few days.

One of those attending is likely to be Vice President Mike Pence, who will represent (a) the Senate where he is the presiding officer and (b) the Donald Trump administration led by a man Sen. McCain said he doesn’t want to attend his funeral.

What in the world is Pence going to tell reporters who are likely to ask him to speak for the president? How might he frame his public remarks if he is asked to speak from the pulpit at the National Cathedral?

The vice president is an honorable man. He and Sen. McCain served together in Congress and by many accounts were friends to the end of McCain’s life. The senator, though, had vastly different views about the president.

Does the VP speak from his heart about McCain on behalf of the president and come off as phony? Or does he offer the bare minimum — kind of like the way Trump offered his “respect” for McCain’s decades of public service and his heroism as a Vietnam War prisoner? If he does the latter, he would come off as sounding cheap and tepid.

Thus, we have the president putting the vice president in a terrible bind by fostering the toxic relationship he had with one of the U.S. Senate’s true giants.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will deliver eulogies in Sen. McCain’s honor. I have no worries about those men speaking from their hearts and offering the kind of respectful and heartfelt rhetoric about their former colleague and foe.

I do worry about Vice President Pence. I hope — and in my heart I believe — he’ll find a way to tap-dance around a delicate subject.

White House makes a mess of standard tribute

Let’s call it what it appears to be: a major-league clusterf***.

Someone at the White House — where Donald J. Trump resides with his wife and young son — lowered the flag atop the building to half-staff immediately after U.S. Sen. John McCain’s death this past weekend.

Then the flag went back to the top of the staff.

And then it came down again today. The president issued a “thoughts and prayers” statement to Sen. McCain’s family initially, and then issued a statement saying that despite the two men’s differences over “politics and policy,” the president said “I respect his service” to the country.

Gosh. Overwhelming, yes? Well … no. It isn’t. But you know that already.

Read CNN.com’s report here.

Actually, the president has yet to make any kind of statement saluting the late senator’s enormous contributions to his nation, his 60 years of public service — including his more than five years as a Vietnam War prisoner as a captive of North Vietnam. Trump denigrated McCain’s war service and the heroism he displayed while being held captive. And as McCain fought the cancer that killed him, Trump continued to blast the senator over his “no” vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, McCain issued a directive that the president shouldn’t attend his funeral. Instead, the senator asked former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to deliver eulogies in his honor. And, yes, Vice President Mike Pence — a former congressional colleague of Sen. McCain — will represent the Trump administration.

Dear reader, we are witnessing yet again the clumsiness and ineptitude of the Donald J. Trump administration over a ceremonial duty that should be second nature.

Shameful.

Pence’s values might come back to, um, haunt him

Vice President Mike Pence is considered generally to be a goodie-two-shoes. He’s a straight arrow, a man of impeccable moral rectitude.

He once wrote in the 1990s that presidents of the United States who are unfaithful to their spouses and lie to Americans should be removed from office post haste.

Interesting, eh? You bet it is!

Because now the vice president works in an administration led by serial philanderer and a pathological liar.

CNN reports: Pence made the argument in two columns in the late 1990s, where he wrote that then-President Bill Clinton’s admission of an affair with a White House intern and prior lies to the public about the matter, possibly under oath, meant Clinton should be removed from office.

There’s more from CNN: Dismissing the idea that the president is “just the like the rest of us,” Pence wrote, “If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends. The President of the United States can incinerate the planet. Seriously, the very idea that we ought to have at or less than the same moral demands placed on the Chief Executive that we place on our next door neighbor is ludicrous and dangerous.

“Throughout our history, we have seen the presidency as the repository of all of our highest hopes and ideals and values. To demand less is to do an injustice to the blood that bought our freedoms.”
To my way of thinking, Donald Trump has devalued the presidency to levels I have not seen in all my years watching the office and the men who have occupied it.
What say you, Mr. Vice President, about the man in charge?

Remains come home; now comes the task of ID’ing them

Vice President Mike Pence flew to Hawaii and welcomed the delivery of remains that U.S. officials hope — and believe — are those of Korean War veterans who were lost in that bloody conflict nearly 70 years ago.

We all join in the hope that the families of the men who were lost can obtain some closure — finally — to the grievous loss they suffered in the early 1950s.

“Some have called the Korean War the forgotten war but today we prove these heroes were never forgotten. Today, our boys are coming home,” Pence said at the ceremony where officials received the remains.

Read The Hill’s account here.

Yes, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un delivered on at least this one pledge he made when he met with Donald Trump in Singapore in June.

There now lies ahead the painstaking task of conducting forensic testing to determine the identities of the remains that have been delivered. U.S. officials today received 55 caskets. Each of the remains will be identified in due course.

Allow me a moment to put some of this tragic issue into some perspective. U.S. families and officials are rightly concerned about the loss of those who perished in wars abroad. They often pale in comparison to the agony that those on the other side also endure.

In 1989, I had the pleasure of touring Vietnam with other journalists. We traveled from Hanoi to Saigon, meeting with officials, many of whom were in office during the Vietnam War that claimed more than 50,000 American lives. It also has produced a missing in action list of some 2,000 or so Americans whose fate have not yet been determined.

We brought that issue up with a Vietnamese official, who then scolded us — politely, I must add. Vietnam needs no lecture from Americans on accounting for those who are MIA, he told us, adding that Vietnam (in 1989) had about 300,000 men missing from what the Vietnamese call “the American war.” I don’t know how many of those missing Vietnamese fighting men have been recovered and identified.

The point is that no matter how much anxiety we feel on our side of these conflicts, we also ought to extend a bit of empathy to those on the other side who, as fellow human beings, are enduring the same agony.

Only their numbers far exceed ours.

Still, I welcome Vice President’s pledge to ensure the return of these missing warriors. As the vice president noted, “Our work will not be completed until all our fallen heroes are accounted for and home.”

What do you mean by ‘everybody,’ Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump sat down with Piers Morgan and made yet another astonishing exaggeration, which compels me to disabuse him of the idiocy he put out there.

Morgan asked the president if there is any doubt he will seek re-election in 2020. Trump said he’s all in for a re-election bid.

“Everybody wants me to run” for a second term, he said.

Huh? Wha … ? Eh? Everybody wants him to run?

Count me out, Mr. President. I am not a member of the Everybody Brigade he is citing.

Not only do I want him to walk away after his term, I want him booted out before the end of his term. Although I must concede that a President Mike Pence gives me pause as well, but for reasons that deal more with public policy than with general incompetence, ignorance, arrogance and rhetorical idiocy.

OK, I get that I’m likely nitpicking what Trump said about “everybody” wanting him to run again. However, if we’re being asked to take the president at his word, then I cannot remain silent when he blathers such absolute nonsense.

Faith on the rise? Yes, but here is a cynical view

Vice President Mike Pence posted this little nugget on Twitter.

Faith in America is rising again because Trump and our entire administration have been advancing the very principles that you learned here in the halls of College.

Yep, you read that correctly. The vice president says the serial philanderer president is “advancing the very principles” taught at Hillsdale College, a conservative faith based school in the Midwest.

I’m not usually prone to cynical responses, but I’ll offer one here to the vice president.

It well might be that “faith … is rising again,” but perhaps for vastly different reasons than any policy initiatives coming from the Donald J. Trump administration.

It might be instead that people are turning to God and praying that he protects us against the craziness that emanates from the White House. I know that’s a terribly cynical way of looking at an important part of many people’s lives.

As a practicing, church-going Christian I do not take my faith lightly. But for the life of me I cannot see how the president’s long history of self-aggrandizement, personal enrichment, hideous behavior with his first two wives (which he has acknowledged) and his serial lying along with his philandering have called Americans to answer the call of their better angels.

I am left only to presume that the vice president’s belief in a boost in religious faith in this country is a result of a sort of collective fear that Donald Trump is going to do something so stupidly irrational that he places the entire nation in harm’s way.

No, Mr. VPOTUS, it’s not yet time to ‘wrap it up’

Uh, this note is for Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr. Vice President, pardon this disagreement from a blogger out here in Flyover Country, but it’s not yet time for special counsel Robert Mueller to conclude his investigation into what Donald Trump once called “the Russia thing.”

Indeed, sir, he needs to continue pursuing all the angles, leads and hunches he has in order to reach a conclusion that we all can presume is fair — and complete!

I get that it’s been a year, as you noted in your recent interview, since this investigation began. Do I need to remind you, Mr. Vice President, that the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email matter lasted far longer? Or how about the Benghazi probe that went on for two-plus years? Nothing came of either of those congressional probes, Mr. Vice President — which I’m sure you’re aware of, right?

Did you or your fellow Republicans join Democrats then in calling for an end to those fruitless investigations? Of course you didn’t! Y’all wanted it to go on forever. And ever. And then some!

The special counsel has a lot more ground to plow regarding that lawyer of the president’s, Michael Cohen. He also wants to talk directly to the president himself, who keeps changing his mind on whether he wants to submit to questioning from the special counsel.

You said the administration has provided “millions of documents.” Do you think Mueller and his team can read all that paperwork over a weekend? It takes time, Mr. Vice President, for the legal eagles to pore through all that stuff.

So, give it to them. Let them finish their work on their schedule, not yours, or the president’s or any of your supporters.

I’m not one of them. I want a thorough investigation to reach a conclusion under its own power.

With that, sir, I’ll close with this. I didn’t vote for you in 2016, but you still work for me, as well as for the 65 million-plus Americans who voted for Hillary.

Therefore, as your boss, I implore you to, um … keep your trap shut!

Sen. McCain shares good times and bad with his friends

I hate, despise, detest the thoughts I am about to express in this blog post, but it needs to be said that they’re talking openly about the end for U.S. Sen. John McCain.

His friends are gathering to wish the senator well as he battles a virulent and aggressive form of brain cancer. Sen. McCain is presenting a brave public front, but it is looking grim … or so it appears, according to recent media reporting.

His longtime friends, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, have visited him. McCain reportedly has told Biden to “not give up on politics,” in what appears to be something of a tacit endorsement of him to run for president in 2020.

He has written of his regret in not selecting another dear friend, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, to be his vice-presidential running mate in 2008 when he lost the presidential election to Sen. Barack H. Obama. Lieberman has visited his friend, too, in Arizona.

There have been many others, according to The New York Times.

Then there is this stunner, as reported by the Times: Sen. McCain’s “intimates” have informed the White House that the senator wants Vice President Mike Pence to attend his funeral, but not Donald Trump, with whom McCain “has had a rocky relationship.”

Hmm. Imagine that. Trump’s disparagement of McCain’s heroic service during the Vietnam War seems to have stuck in the senator’s craw since Trump declared that Sen. McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured” by North Vietnamese. Trump, of course, didn’t acknowledge the torture McCain endured during his more than five years as a captive in Hanoi during the Vietnam War. Or that McCain refused an early release because he didn’t want to abandon his fellow POWs while giving the North Vietnamese a PR bonanza, given that McCain’s father commanded U.S. naval forces during that time.

I have grown to admire Sen. McCain over many years. I didn’t vote him for president. I don’t regret my decision to endorse his opponent in 2008, Barack Obama. Nor do I shy away from my view that McCain is an honorable man who has given far more in service to his country than almost anyone.

I want him to defeat the illness that has ravaged him. I fear he won’t.

Thus, I am preparing for some deep sadness.