Tag Archives: Richard Nixon

Is it possible Trump would resign … a la Richard Nixon?

I feel like sharing with you a political fantasy that keeps creeping into the recesses of my noggin.

Right off the top: I cannot stop wondering if there’s a chance that Donald J. Trump would resign the presidency, the way Richard Nixon did on Aug. 9, 1974.

President Nixon’s resignation speech spoke of the distraction a prolonged impeachment hearing in the House and a Senate trial would become. He said resigning was “abhorrent” to him. The president added that he couldn’t in good conscience concentrate on keeping his job at the risk of letting more critical matters of governance go unattended.

So, he quit.

To be fair, the president didn’t mention in that televised speech that Senate Republicans had told him he was toast when the matter would go to trial.

Twenty-four years later, another president was impeached. Bill Clinton didn’t quit. He fought it, but was able to compartmentalize the impeachment apart from the task of governing.

Donald Trump isn’t wired that way. He is being consumed by the impeachment. He fires off a constant stream of Twitter messages blasting the House impeachment inquiry, and the patriots who have told House committee members that, by golly, the president did seek a quid pro quo, a personal political favor from a foreign government.

Resigning, of course, would belie what Trump has said all along, that he didn’t do anything wrong when he had that “perfect” phone call with the Ukrainian president.

Nor is Trump inclined to put country ahead of his personal political fortunes. I mean, he had no public service exposure prior to running for the presidency in 2016, so the idea of serving others is totally foreign to this guy.

Plus, I guess I should add that the prospect of the Senate convicting him of any crime against the nation is even more remote than it was in 1999 when it cleared President Clinton.

However, I cannot stop hoping that Donald Trump would find it within himself to simply walk away. Sure, that would mean we’d get Mike Pence as president. The vice president also might be tainted by the dirt that has been kicked up around the president, which I suppose is grist for yet another story at another time.

I am not sure I have the stomach for the impeachment that is racing closer to finality. If only the president of the United States was as queasy as many of the people he promised to serve … and could finally put the nation’s interest ahead of his own.

If only he’d just quit.

Don Jr. is in dire need of a reality check

Donald J. Trump Jr. is hawking a book with his name on it that, he says, seeks to fight back against what he calls mean-spirited attacks from the far left wing of the political spectrum.

Then he goes a step or three too far. He has declared on live TV that Republicans have sat back for “too long” while the left beats the daylights out of them with their attack machine.

Wow, man! Hold on for a second or two. Let’s take a walk along the political memory lane.

1972: President Nixon was running for re-election. His Democratic opponent was U.S. Sen. George McGovern, a fervent Vietnam War critic. He wanted the United States to end the war immediately. The Republican Party and the president’s re-election committee labeled McGovern a patsy, a wimp, a dovish coward. They questioned his patriotism and love of country. Oh, and then there’s this: Sen. McGovern was a decorated World War II U.S. Army Air Force bomber pilot who flew into harm’s way in Europe.

There’s that.

1992: President George H.W. Bush ran for re-election against Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. The Republican National Committee, along with heavily financed political action groups, sought to link Gov. Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the deaths of former aides. The implication was that the Clintons were somehow complicit in their deaths. The attacks continued even after Clinton was elected that year, with some on the right suggesting that they murdered their close friend Vincent Foster, who committed suicide shortly after President Clinton took office.

That’s an example, too.

2004: U.S. Sen. John Kerry was the Democratic presidential nominee. Prior to becoming a U.S. senator, he held elective office in Massachusetts. Prior to that he was part of a group called Vietnam Veterans Against the War. And, yes, he also had served heroically in Vietnam as a Navy swift boat officer. He was awarded several medals, including the Bronze Star, Silver Star and Purple Heart. But some foes on the right decided to “Swift Boat” Kerry, suggesting he didn’t really serve with valor. They launched a vicious, defamatory attack on his character. One of the chief financial sponsors of that hideous attack was the late Boone Pickens, the former Amarillo oil and natural gas tycoon.

OK, I have one more example.

2008: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama ran for president as the Democratic nominee. Some notable Republicans felt compelled to question whether the African-American presidential nominee was qualified to run for the office. They said he was born in Kenya. They challenged his constitutional eligibility. Obama said he was born in Hawaii in 1961. His mother was white; his father was a black Kenyan. He didn’t know his father and was raised by his mother and her parents, who lived in Kansas. All of his efforts to persuade his critics fell on largely deaf ears.

One set of deaf ears happened to belong to Donald J. Trump Sr., the current president of the United States and father of the nincompoop who is saying that Republicans have been silent for too long.

My point is this: Don Jr. needs to stop lying about alleged Republican “silence” in this toxic and vicious political climate. They have contributed more than their share of poison.

Trump’s weird association with evangelicals takes an even weirder turn

It looks as though the nation’s strangest political alliance has taken a strange new twist.

Donald Trump has hired a thrice-married, money-loving televangelist to be his link to the evangelical Christian community that continues to support the president, even in the wake of a mountain of impeachment evidence that is piling up all around him.

This person’s name is Paula White. She is far from your run-of-the-mill person of the cloth. She has been marred by marital scandal. She lives in a glitzy mansion in Florida. She reportedly believes God wants believers to gather wealth. She delivers her ministry on television.

Doesn’t sound so, oh, very Trumpian? I believe it does.

The New York Times noted some fascinating spiritual comparisons.

The Times reported that Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon turned the Rev. Billy Graham, who the Times said was “so ubiquitous he became known as America’s Pastor.” President Obama turned to Rick Warren, whose best-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life” became the second best-selling hardcover book in American history; the No. 1 best-seller is, um, The Bible.

Read the Times story here.

Paula White comes from a vastly different mold than previous presidential pastors. She is, shall we say, more than a tad unconventional in her approach to God’s holy word.

She preaches something called “the prosperity gospel,” which the Times reports has drawn widespread criticism from mainstream religious leaders. Imagine that … if you can.

But there she is, working within the White House as a sort of “spiritual adviser” to a president who, to my way of thinking, has lived one of the most un-Christian lives of any notable public figure I’ve ever seen.

Didn’t he once tell us that he’s never sought “forgiveness”? He has admitted cheating on two of his three wives; and there’s plenty of evidence that he’s fooled around on Wife No. 3. He has preached a doctrine of toughness to obtain business success. Trump has mocked others’ physical disabilities, their appearance, their intelligence.

Does any of that resemble what Jesus Christ would endorse?

Don’t answer that.

Now he has someone named Paula White advising him. She will work to shore up his religious movement support.

Weird, man.

Partisanship is alive and festering in this pending impeachment

The highly partisan nature of the House of Representatives vote today on the impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump reveals a fundamental shortcoming in this process.

It remains a highly partisan, divided endeavor. Republicans voted “no” on the inquiry resolution, while all but two congressional Democrats voted “yes.”

The resolution lays out the rules and procedure that the House will follow from this moment forward as it decides whether to impeach the president on grounds that he violated his oath of office.

If only it wasn’t so damn partisan!

Looking back at the impeachment proceeding that resulted in President Nixon’s resignation from office in 1974, I am reminded that Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in the search for the truth about the Watergate break-in and who was behind the coverup of the crime.

Nixon, the Republican president, quit when GOP senators told him eventually that he was toast, that a Senate trial would convict him. Indeed, during the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973, it fell to a GOP senator, Howard Baker, to ask famously, “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

And then came the question from the committee’s Republican legal counsel, Fred Thompson, who would go on later to be elected to the Senate alongside Sen. Baker of Tennessee: “Are you aware of … any listening devices in the Oval Office?” Thompson asked White House aide Alexander Butterfield, who answered “yes.”

Are there any Republicans now who are willing to exhibit that kind of courage? No. They are digging in to defend a president who has actually acknowledged that he sought political help from a foreign government. They are challenging the “process,” calling it a “Soviet-style” inquisition.

The partisanship being exhibited here reminds me of the shamelessness we saw during President Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. Republicans were hell bent toward impeaching the Democratic president, whose Democratic allies in Congress were equally hell bent in protecting him from the GOP attack dogs.

It’s playing out all over again.

But we have this major wrinkle: We’re now staring straight into a presidential election.

You want partisanship? Let’s hang on with both hands.

Let’s put an end to the ‘coup’ garbage

So help me, I am about to go bonkers, nuts, batty if I keep hearing critics of the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry refer to it as a “coup d’état” that seeks to “overthrow” the government run by Donald John Trump.

Let us slam on the brakes!

The House of Reps is embarking on a process that likely will result in the impeachment of the president of the United States. The House will vote Thursday on a measure that will effectively codify that effort, putting all its members on the record: Do you support the inquiry or oppose it?

I should add that the Constitution does not require such a vote. The House, led by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has decided to do the right thing. It has relented to Republican demands that they have such a vote, not that it has assuaged GOP criticism of the process; Republicans have merely switched targets, changed the subject, “moved the goal posts.”

This “coup” crap has to stop!

So should this nonsense we keep hearing from Republicans about “overturning the results of the 2016 election.” The latest presidential election will stand forever as a victory by Trump over Hillary Rodham Clinton. The House impeached President Clinton in 1998, but it did not negate the reality of his 1996 re-election victory. Nor did President Nixon’s near-impeachment in 1974 overturn the results of his 1972 landslide re-election.

Donald Trump’s impeachment, when it occurs, will have been done in accordance with what the Constitution provides in Article I, which declares that the House has the “sole” authority to impeach a president. The absence of ground rules in the Constitution gives the House considerable latitude. The House is operating well within the authority it owns.

However, absent a credible defense against what has been alleged against Donald Trump, the president’s GOP allies in Congress and in conservative media have decided to attack the “process.” They are criticizing Democrats, if you can believe this, for doing precisely what the Constitution allows them to do.

Then the argument plows straight into the demagoguery associated with phony and dubious claims of a “coup d’état” against the president.

This is nonsense. It is — to borrow a Trump phrase — pure bullsh**!

Let the drama play out.

Waiting for the candidate who can wipe out Trump

Critics of this blog — at least some of them — have made some incorrect presumptions about me. They seem to believe I am some sort of far-left socialist who wants to redistribute wealth. That’s the vibe I get from a few of ’em.

I am a patriotic American, a veteran who went to war for my country, someone who’s been married to one woman for 48 years, has reared two sons watched them become two of the finest men on Earth. I pay my taxes without complaining.  I attend church most Sundays. I revere the principles for which our flag flies and I get choked up at military parades.

Accordingly, I do not want to see some far-left socialist nominated by the Democratic Party to run against Donald J. Trump. I favor a more moderate approach to good government. Who is that candidate? Who should carry the torch forward into political battle against a president who has zero business holding the office to which he was elected? I do not yet know.

I merely want to endorse the candidate who embodies moderation but one who can take the fight directly to Trump and his minions.

I had the distinct pleasure this week of attending a Trump rally in downtown Dallas. I went as an observer. I told a couple from Rockwall I meant about my intent in being there. They got it, even as they wore their Trump gear while waiting to get into the arena.

I met a lot of nice people. I had half-expected to see my share of wild-eyed wackos. I didn’t see them. Instead, I saw thousands of committed Trump supporters whose enthusiasm for their candidate was as fervent as any I have seen since, oh, 1972, when I got involved politically for the first time. My guy at that time was progressive U.S. Sen. George McGovern, a Democrat from South Dakota who campaigned on a pledge to end our involvement in the Vietnam War.

I had just returned from Vietnam and I wanted Sen. McGovern to win in the worst way. Instead, he lost in the worst way, losing 49 states to President Nixon. We were committed, too. Our crowds were huge and enthusiastic, too. We lost big.

My point is this: Fringe candidates do not win national elections. Trump is no extremist. He is, as best I can tell, a complete anomaly. He has no ideological base. He doesn’t stand on principle. He brought zero public service credentials, let alone interest, into the office he won in what I consider to be the Mother of All Political Flukes.

He has disgraced his office. He has embarrassed me as an American patriot. I want him banished from the White House. I want the next president to represent the sensible center of American life.

Whoever that person is, I am waiting for him or her to present themselves to Americans and to make the case in the strongest terms possible that they can — and will — restore dignity to the nation’s highest and most exalted office.

This impeachment thing appears to be growing more tentacles

As I seek to follow the ongoing impeachment crisis threatening the presidency of Donald Trump, I am getting a sense that the story is getting bigger than many Americans would prefer.

Just three weeks ago we learned about a phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodormyr Zellenskiy in which he sought a favor from Ukraine in exchange for releasing money to help Ukrainians fight Russian aggressors.

The phone call prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch an impeachment inquiry. The thought as I understood at the time was that the House would move rapidly toward an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving. It would be a narrowly focused matter: whether the president violated his oath by seeking foreign government help in his re-election and seeking foreign help in digging up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential foe in the 2020 presidential election.

Now it seems as if this story is getting many more tentacles.

Trump appeared to suggest that the vice president, Mike Pence, had conversations with Ukrainians as well; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at first denied knowledge of the Trump-Zellenskiy phone conversation, then acknowledged he was “on the call”; questions have now arisen about Turkey and whether the president’s decision to abandon our allies in Kurdistan in the fight against ISIS is somehow related to a Trump Towers deal in Istanbul.

My head is spinning, man.

Does all of this come together quickly? Can there be an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving? Can the Senate commence a trial and make a decision by, say, spring 2020? Is all of this getting so muddy that we won’t have a resolution until after the 2020 presidential election?

As if it needed to get more complicated. The juxtaposition of a re-election fight and an impeachment muddies matters beyond anything the nation has experienced. President Clinton was a lame-duck second-term president when the House impeached him in 1998; President Nixon was in the same boat when the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment in 1974. Neither man faced re-election.

This whole scenario is vastly different. Moreover, it keeps growing in its complexity as more Cabinet officials get sucked into the debate over what they knew and when they knew it.

I need something to settle my nerves.

I also want this saga to end — either through impeachment and Senate conviction, or at the ballot box — with Donald Trump vacating the Oval Office for a final time.

Never saw scandal topping Watergate, but this one has done it!

I’ll admit it right up front.

I always thought Watergate was as bad as it could get, short of a president of the United States actually spying for an enemy nation. Then the nation in 2016 elected Donald John Trump as its 45th president.

Now he is embroiled in a scandal that looks for all the world as if it’s going to surpass Watergate in its gravity.

I’m old enough to remember what happened on June 17, 1972 when some burglars got caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex in Washington. The media treated it initially as a police story. They buried the initial reporting inside the papers. Then it got worse … in a hurry!

We found out that President Nixon’s re-election team was involved. Then we learned that the president told the CIA to head off an FBI probe into what occurred. Then we learned of tape recordings of President Nixon saying precisely that. Then came congressional hearings and all hell broke loose. Then the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn the tapes over. Then the president learned his goose was cooked in the Senate if the House impeached him.

Then the president resigned.

Why is this worse? Because the president of the United States has dragged foreign nations into the act of working for his re-election, just as Russia did in helping elect him in 2016. Donald Trump also has used those solicitations for help as bargaining chips in delivering aid to an ally fighting a hostile power; Ukraine asked for military aid, Congress appropriated the funds, but the president held them up until Ukraine delivered on Trump’s request for aid in digging up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential 2020 political opponent.

Donald Trump, with that act, put our national security at risk. It emboldened that hostile power and has sown the seeds of mistrust among our other allies around the world into whether the United States can be trusted to keep its word.

I never thought I would see a day when a presidential scandal could eclipse Watergate. I believe, ladies and gents, that we have reached that stage.

The absolute absence of any public service experience in the president’s background is coming starkly into full view. He has built his entire professional career on self-service, self-enrichment and self-worth. He brought zero understanding of the U.S. Constitution into the Oval Office when he became president. He has made not only a mockery of the office he occupies, he has turned in a frightening display of the consequences of electing someone whose entire professional life has been build on demands that others act according to his whims.

That isn’t how good governance works.

We now are set to pay a painful price for the president’s astonishing ignorance and arrogance.

Get ready for the filthiest campaign in history

I am trying like the dickens to wrap my noggin around an impossible prospect.

That is, I am seeking to comprehend the level of filth that will sully the next campaign for the presidency of the United States. We are getting a whiff of the stench that already is filling the air around the 2020 campaign.

Donald J. Trump’s re-election campaign is getting set to run TV ads on the Fox News Channel that seek to tie Joe Biden, a potential 2020 opponent, to phony allegations of corruption involving the former VP and his son, Hunter, in business dealings in Ukraine.

Think about that for a moment. When have we seen an incumbent president seek to influence a primary outcome in the other political party? I am trying to remember. The closest parallel I can find is 1972, when Republicans sought to surreptitiously undermine Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie of Maine while greasing the skids for Democrats to nominate George McGovern of South Dakota. The difference between then and now is that President Nixon’s re-election team did it all under the table … not out front and in plain view of the entire world! The strategy worked: Nixon won re-election in a historic landslide, then got into serious trouble with that thing called “Watergate.”

Meanwhile, the current president is facing the real prospect of being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives over his admission that he is asking for foreign government help in his re-election effort, not to mention help in digging up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden.

My fellow Americans, welcome to the new age of American politics, where the president of the United States openly violates his oath of office and then seeks to smear a potential campaign opponent with the hope that the opposing party will nominate someone else.

I hope we all have the stomach for what we are about to witness.

Wake me from this ‘long national nightmare’

Gerald R. Ford ascended to the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974 and declared that “our long national nightmare is over.”

That was then. The Watergate scandal consumed the presidency of Richard Nixon. He was facing certain impeachment by the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate. So, he resigned.

President Ford’s declaration comes to mind now as we lapse into another nightmarish stupor. Donald Trump is facing nearly certain impeachment by the House. The acknowledged circumstance appears to make the Watergate burglary and the cover up seem tame by comparison. Trump has admitted to soliciting foreign government help in securing his re-election. Today, he astonished the world by saying China and Ukraine both should investigate business dealings done by former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential opponent of Trump in the 2020 election.

I fear the nightmare this time will not end as cleanly as it did in 1974 when President Nixon resigned.

The House has enough evidence to impeach Donald Trump. The Senate, though, isn’t showing a hint of the courage demonstrated during the Watergate matter. Republican senators are standing behind Trump, who clearly has violated his oath of office by placing his personal political interests ahead of the country’s national interest.

How this crisis ends is anyone’s guess. Trump could follow the Nixon model and resign; he won’t. The president could be impeached and then be acquitted by the Senate; then he’ll run for re-election crowing about being found not guilty of what he has acknowledged doing.

He could be impeached and then convicted; but how might he depart the White House? I have zero faith that he would leave with any sense of shame or humility.

We’re entering another long national nightmarish scenario that doesn’t appear headed toward any sort of clean ending.

It’s not all grim, however.

President Ford also reminded us that “our Constitution works.” It most certainly did in 1974. I am clinging tightly to my belief that it will work yet again this time around.