Tag Archives: Republican Party

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.

Once upon a time, Republicans mistrusted the Russians

There once was a time, not that long ago, when Republican Party politicians bristled at the notion of cozying up to Russia, the direct descendants of what President Reagan once called The Evil Empire.

They would rant and roar at the prospect of Democrats talking nice to the Russians. They would argue that the Russians weren’t to be trusted as far as we could throw them.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, called Russia the world’s greatest geopolitical adversary of this nation. Democrats laughed at Mitt. I admit to being one of the critics who dismissed Mitt’s view; I regret what I said then.

These days the one-time Party of Reagan has been captured and co-opted by Donald J. Trump. The current president is unlike any human being who’s ever been elected to the high office.

He talks nice to the Russians. Get this: He now disparages and disrespects our allies. He scolds our North Atlantic Treaty Organization friends for failing to pay enough to defend themselves. The president’s NATO diatribe plays directly into the hands of Russia.

I’m trying to imagine what the Republican Party hierarchy would do if, say, Barack H. Obama had done any of the things that his immediate successor has done. They would collapse into spasms of apoplexy. They would call for the president’s head on a platter. They would impeach him in a New York nano-second.

This is a strange new world, dear reader. It’s making me nervous.

The president of the United States is supposed to be a source of wisdom, stability and dignity. Instead, we have someone at the top of our governmental chain of command who has turned everything on its head.

What’s more, the political party with which he is affiliated is buying into it. The Russians are the good guys now? We are scolding our allies and giving comfort to our No. 1 adversary?

Wow!

What has happened to the GOP?

The Party of Abraham Lincoln has become …

The Party of Donald J. Trump. The “Party of Child Abuse.” The Party of Demonization. The Party of Insult and Innuendo.

So it appears as longtime Republicans of stellar standing are calling it quits on their party.

Perhaps the most notable recent defection came this week as Steve Schmidt, Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign adviser and GOP “strategist” renounced his party and said he intends to start voting for Democrats. He calls the Republican Party “vile” and said it no longer represents the high and noble ideals that produced its founding in the mid-19th century, which was to end slavery.

There have been other well-known Republicans. Former U.S. Rep. — and current TV talk show host — Joe Scarborough is one; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Will is another.

Geraldo Rivera, whose own Republican credentials at best are a bit suspect, told his fellow Fox News colleagues that the GOP has become the “party of child abuse.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who’s leaving the Senate at the end of the year, referred to the “cult” that is developing within the GOP. Other Republican officeholders and office seekers are reluctant to cross the president for fear of being skewered by him.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina criticized Trump, who then endorsed his GOP primary opponent. What happened? The opponent won and Sanford will be out of office at the end of the year, if not sooner.

Yes, it’s fair to ask: What in the world has happened to the Grand Old Party, which once was known as a great political party?

It’s been co-opted by a guy who before he ran for president had no political experience. He had no public service experience. He still has virtually no knowledge of how government works or how it requires teamwork that involves players from both sides of the aisle.

Heaven help us.

IG report steers clear of ‘collusion’ probe

Donald John Trump’s fantasy land journey has taken him down yet another curious, bizarre path.

The U.S. Department of Justice inspector general issued a report this week that blasts the daylights out of former FBI director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Rodham Clinton e-mail controversy. The IG calls Comey “insubordinate” in flouting DOJ protocol in his probe of Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

The president’s response? It was weird in the extreme. He walked onto the White House driveway after the report became known and said the 500-page report absolves him of any “collusion” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

Except for this little detail: The IG report didn’t say a single word about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion, obstruction of justice and whatever else might be connected in any way to that bizarre political episode.

What’s more, the Liar in Chief tossed out the “liar” epithet against Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017 over “the Russia thing.” The inspector general’s report doesn’t challenge Comey’s credibility, only his judgment and his failure to follow DOJ policy.

Will the president’s diatribe do any damage to his standing among the Republican Party “base” that continues to hang on his every lie, prevarication and misstatement of fact?

Umm. Nope.

Now the governor calls for GOP ‘unity’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is trying to recover from some of the political wounds he suffered this week in the state’s Republican Party primary.

You see, the governor took a most unusual step in endorsing three challengers to Republican legislative incumbents. It’s highly strange for politicians to take sides within their own party. Abbott sought to get rid of three legislators who oppose many of his policies.

Oops! It didn’t work … mostly. State Reps. Sarah Davis and Lyle Larson won their primary races. Rep. Wayne Faircloth lost his primary contest.

So now the governor wants the party to “unify” behind its slate of candidates running against Democrats this fall.

As the Texas Tribune reports: “Now that the primary’s over, I think it’s very important that the Republican Party come together as one and work together all the way through the November to make sure that we win the elections in November,” Abbott said.

We live in politically contentious times. The Republican Party is being redefined at the very top of the food chain, by the president of the United States. Donald Trump has imposed protectionist trade tariffs that run totally counter to traditional GOP orthodoxy.

That tumult has splashed over state politics as well. Consider the intraparty battles that occurred throughout Texas during this primary season. Popular incumbents received GOP primary challenges in all corners of the state, including in rock-solid Republican Texas Panhandle legislative districts.

This tells me that the “unity” that Gov. Abbott seeks might be a bit more difficult to obtain that it might be in a “normal political climate.”

Ain’t nothing “normal” about what we’re watching transpire within this once-great political party.

Has the GOP gone on to its great reward?

I fear the time may have arrived to say goodbye, farewell, adieu to a once-great American political party.

The Republican Party may be drawing its last breath in the Age of Donald John Trump Sr.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has announced he is leaving public office at the end of next year. So is Sen. Bob Corker. They are two standup up guys. They represent the traditional Republican Party. They have sought during their Senate careers to work within a political system that includes Democrats. I don’t recall hearing them use the kind of language that’s become the apparent norm these days during the Trump Era.

Sen. John McCain is no friend or political ally of the president. And no matter how many smiley faces they make in Trump’s company in front of the camera, I do not believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or Sen. Lindsey Graham, or Sen. John Cornyn are actual Trumpkins.

And the members of the Trump brigade need to stop denigrating their service by referring to them as RINOs, Republicans in Name Only. The RINO in chief, Trump, fits that description to a T.

We’re seeing more and more “establishment type” Republicans facing primary challenges, which is what drove Flake to the sideline.

As the Politico article attached to this post indicates, Trump is driving these people away and turning the GOP into a party in his image.

What an image it is, too.

Trump “tells it like it is,” his fans say. No, he tells it like he wants it to be. And for the life of me I cannot understand how a once-great party tolerates someone speaking of others in the manner that he does.

Donald Trump has defied every norm not just of political convention but of personal human decency since announcing his presidential campaign in June 2015.

A man with no public service experience ascended to the most exalted public office on Earth and nearly a year into his term has next to zero to show for it. His response has been to blame others time and again for his failure.

So here we are. The Republican Party — which once prided itself on being the Party of Abraham Lincoln — has become the Party of Donald John Trump.

Rest in ever-loving peace, GOP.

GOP taken over by ‘this hateful man’

We haven’t heard much from John Danforth since he left the U.S. Senate.

The highly respected former lawmaker — who also happens to be an Episcopal minister — has weighed in heavily against the president of the United States.

Sen. Danforth is urging the Republican Party — to which he is a member — to toss aside the principles espoused by Donald John Trump Sr., who he described as “this hateful man” who promotes division and disunity in the nation he governs.

One must accept that political figures from opposing parties are going to criticize those in high office. Danforth’s critique, which he offered in an essay published in the Washington Post, is another of a stunning array of criticism coming from politicians within the president’s own party.

It makes me ponder whether Trump actually is seen by Republicans as one of their own. Or is he a major-league anomaly, a political freak who elected president by a series of flukes that no one saw coming?

Danforth has laid down an important marker for his fellow Republicans. He writes of Trump: “He stands in opposition to the founding principle of our party — that of a united country.”

Read Danforth’s essay here.

Look back just a few days to the rhetoric he has spouted. He talked of “many sides” being responsible for the violence in Charlottesville. He doubled down a few days later by declaring that “both sides” were at fault and that “both sides” had “good people” clashing in the Virginia community, which brings to mind the question: What kind of “good person” marches with Klansmen, Nazis and white supremacists?

Such language from the president drives huge wedges between groups of Americans, which is what I believe Sen. Danforth seeks to underscore in his essay.

“For the sake of our party and our nation, we Republicans must disassociate ourselves from Trump by expressing our opposition to his divisive tactics and by clearly and strongly insisting that he does not represent what it means to be a Republican,” Danforth writes.
Nor does he “represent” anything about the presidency of the greatest nation on Earth.

Republicans become party of diverse thought

I want to offer a good word or three about today’s Republican Party.

Yes, I’ve been beating them up a good bit of late. The GOP has deserved the drubbing. However, I want to speak to something that became evident after Donald John Trump Sr. tweeted out his decision to ban transgender Americans from serving in the armed forces.

The Republican Party has exhibited a profound sense of diverse thought on that issue.

On one side, we have heard some of the more predictable reactions. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who’s now energy secretary in the Trump administration — said he supports the president “totally” in his decision to ban transgender citizens from service in defense of the nation. Fellow Texan, state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller — a fellow not known for thoughtful rhetoric — said the armed forces are “no place for social experimentation.”

Then came the push back from other notable Republican pols. Many members of Congress expressed disappointment and dismay that Trump would use Twitter to announce such a staggering policy shift.

Then came a highly personal statement from U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Utah lawmaker known as one of the Senate’s more conservative members. Transgender individuals do not “choose” to change their sexual identity, Hatch said. “They are born that way,” he added. Sen. Hatch said it is unfair to hold that against them.

The GOP has demonstrated considerable diversity as well in this debate over whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The moderate wing of the Republican caucus dislikes many of the provisions contained in the GOP-authored bill; it cuts too much from Medicaid, for example. The TEA Party/conservative wing of the caucus dislikes the overhaul because it doesn’t go far enough in repealing the ACA, the signature legislation authored by Democrats during the Obama administration.

Democrats, meanwhile, speak with a single voice on those and many other issues. It must be Democrats’ universal disdain for Trump and the fact that he managed to win the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Believe me, I understand their anger on that one!

However, the Republican Party has shown itself to be more willing to expose its differences in the months since Trump became president.

For that, I applaud Republicans.

Oh, and yes, the stalling of the Trump “agenda” — whatever it is — has played a key part in earning my praise.

No president can act ‘alone’

capitol-hill11

“I alone can fix it,” Donald J. Trump told us while he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination this past summer.

Surely you remember that pearl of wisdom.

The comment revealed a tremendous ignorance of how the presidency works and how the individual who holds the office is supposed to conduct the nation’s business.

Did it matter to American voters who this week elected a new president? Not in the least.

The very same ignorant GOP nominee won the election and today is going to meet with the man he will succeed as president. Perhaps the incumbent, Barack H. Obama, can remind the new guy of a concept that appears foreign to him: teamwork.

The president-elect is going to get a serious crash course in civics as he prepares to assume the first political office he’s ever sought.

The founders devised a system of government that requires compromise among those who run it. Over time since the founding of the republic, we developed political parties. The system is now run by people representing two major political organizations: the Democratic and Republican parties. They differ on policy and principle.

The trick, then, becomes at times dicey. Politicians on both sides of the divide need to find some common ground to fix the problems that confront them. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes they fail. As President Obama learned early in his administration, cooperation wasn’t always a given as he reached out to Republicans to find solutions to the serious problems afflicting the nation when he took office.

The Senate GOP leader, Mitch McConnell, laid down the marker early in Obama’s administration by saying his No. 1 priority would be to make Barack Obama a “one-term president.” It didn’t work out for McConnell.

Still, the new president enters this strange new world (for him, at least) with some kind of notion that “I alone” can repair what he believes is wrong with the nation.

He’s got 535 individuals on Capitol Hill — many of whom have egos that match the new president’s — who will have different views of what needs to be done.  Moreover, they wield collectively just as much power as the individual who sits in the Oval Office.

Lesson No. 1 is as clear as it gets. Effective governance requires teamwork, Mr. President-elect.

Government: It’s a partnership, yes?

13631414_1745253302411619_3376219339678446266_n

This graphic showed up on a social media feed that I get.

I find it most instructive. I won’t recite it to you, as you can see it for yourself.

It does, though, prompt a thought or two about government and its very nature as created by the founders of our great country.

They created a partnership. They limited the power of the president on purpose by dividing the power among three co-equal branches of government … and by allowing states to create their own governments to deal with issues germane to those who live within those states and other territories.

So, when I hear Republicans these days yap and yammer about how the country is going to hell — a notion to which I do not subscribe — I also have to wonder if they’re really ready to take ownership of the government in which they, too, are an integral part.

The party that opposes the individual in the White House has been as much a part of what supposedly ails the country as the president.

Sure, the president — and vice president — are elected in a nationwide vote. Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are elected by those who live within their states and/or congressional districts. Collectively, though, they also represent a national constituency.

The same logic can be applied to governors and state legislators.

As the graphic points, most of those office at this point are occupied by the Republican Party.

Which begs the question: Why are they bitching so loudly?