Tag Archives: RNC

Mr. President, what about that ‘American carnage’?

Donald J. Trump is fond of trumpeting his own real (or imagined) skills.

The night that he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Trump proclaimed that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems. Then he ran a successful presidential campaign, got elected, put his hand on a Bible and took the oath of office this past January.

The brand new president then delivered a dark speech that didn’t speak to the nation’s ideals, but instead recited a grim litany of heartache and alleged failure. The only line many of us can remember from that speech goes like this: “The American carnage is going to stop … right here and right now.”

Where am I going with this?

A president who boasts that he “alone” can fix any problem needs to explain why he hasn’t stopped “the American carnage.”

Case in point: In just the past few months, we have seen nine people killed when a terrorist ran over them with a rented truck in New York City; a madman opened fire on a Las Vegas crowd, killing 59 of them; another lunatic then walked into a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church and killed 26 more people.

The American carnage that Trump said he would stop has continued.

What has been his solution to any of it? What has he proposed to protect people from gunmen or international terrorists? Has the president produced any legislative remedies? Has he articulated the need to act to stem this violence?

I know full well that presidents cannot act alone, even though the current president said he can and promised he would. And that brings me back to my point.

If Donald Trump is able to do the myriad things he has boasted he could do, then isn’t it time he delivered the goods?

The man needs to spend more time, devote more attention and deploy his self-proclaimed immense intelligence to things that really matter — and stop wasting his time tweeting about football players’ protests and whether he did enough to bail three young basketball players out of jail.

Evangelical infatuation with Trump still confuses

Someone has to explain something to me in simple language.

My question goes like this: How does Donald J. Trump continue to hold tightly onto support from the evangelical Christian community?

I ask because of a blog posted by R.G. Ratcliffe in Texas Monthly. Ratcliffe writes about a potential Republican challenger for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz next year from an evangelical TV network executive who is angry that Cruz didn’t endorse Trump at the 2016 Republican presidential nominating convention.

The challenge might come from Bruce K. Jacobson Jr., vice president for LIFE Outreach International and an aide to James Robison, a noted televangelist.

I do not get this! Honest! It confuses me in the extreme!

Christians line up behind Trump

The president of the United States would seem to be totally anathema to the evangelical movement, given the president’s past. He has bragged about his marital infidelity; he has admitted to groping women; he never has been associated with faith-based causes or associated openly with religious organizations.

Sen. Cruz has been much friendlier to evangelical causes than Trump ever had been prior to his becoming president. Jacobson, though, holds Cruz’s non-endorsement at the RNC in 2016 against him.

As Ratcliffe writes: Cruz had signed a pledge to support the party’s nominee, Jacobson said, but then didn’t follow through at the convention. “I’m concerned about anybody who doesn’t keep their word. I’ve very concerned about that. In Texas, when we give our word, it’s our word,” Jacobson said.

If memory serves, Cruz made that pledge early in the GOP presidential primary campaign, only to be humiliated personally by Trump’s insults and lies. Trump disparaged Cruz’s wife with a cruel tweet and then suggested the senator’s father was linked somehow to the assassination of President Kennedy. Cruz called Trump an “amoral” liar, which I also happen to believe he is.

Did the eventual Republican nominee conduct himself as a “good Christian” with that kind of behavior?

I don’t know about you, but I am not at all surprised — nor displeased — that Ted Cruz chose not to “endorse” Trump at the 2016 Republican convention.

So here we are. Cruz stood on a principle of fair treatment and for that he might get a Republican Party primary challenge from an evangelical Christian leader?

Explain it to me. Please.

Why the ongoing fight with government ‘partners’?

The president of the United States traditionally is part of a team.

He leads the executive branch of government, which works hand-in-glove with the legislative branch.

That’s what tradition would dictate. Yes? No longer. The current president continues to act as though he is a one-man band, a Lone Ranger who can solve all the problems all by himself.

Donald John Trump Sr., you’ll recall, stood before the Republican Party’s nominating convention in 2016 and declared that “I, alone can solve” the myriad problems he said were plaguing the nation.

He is mistaken. On that. On damn near everything!

Trump signed a bill into law this week out of sight of TV cameras or other media. It calls for tougher sanctions against Russia — along with Iran and North Korea. Trump issued a signing statement that tore Congress a new one. He blasted lawmakers for approving the sanctions bill, saying they were undermining the president’s authority to “negotiate” with Russia. The bill prevents the president from reducing the sanctions without congressional approval. That’s no good, Trump said.

He blasted Congress for failing to enact a law that would replace the Affordable Care Act. Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t that also a presidential responsibility? Oh, wait! I almost forgot. Trump said he wouldn’t “own” the failure, even though he is now the leader of the Republican Party, which controls both chambers of Congress.

The longer Trump trudges down this road to nowhere, the more he seems intent on separating himself from the partners he needs to do anything of importance.

The Russia sanction legislation provides yet another example — as if we need any more — of the president’s utter and complete ignorance of how government is supposed to work.

Effective governance, Mr. President, is a team sport. The president cannot govern all by himself. Put another way, one cannot run one governmental branch the way one runs a business. The two things are mutually exclusive.

Mooch shows us why POTUS hired him

Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci is cast, apparently, in the same mold as the guy who has just hired him.

He’s a loud-mouthed, profane insult machine who happens to serve as communications director for an administration that is seeking desperately to change the subject from pressing matters. You know, things like possible business conflicts of interest and that “Russia thing” aka the investigation into whether Russia meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

Mooch has called White House chief of staff Reince Priebus a “f****** schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” Priebus will be gone shortly, according to Mooch.

The die was cast when Trump hired Mooch to become communications chief and then said Mooch would report directly to the president, rather than the chief of staff, which has been the custom for, oh, many decades.

Mooch took that as his cue to trash Priebus, who deserves far better than he’s getting from Mooch or Trump or, frankly, the media that cover the White House. Priebus had to know what he was getting when he accepted the job as chief of staff. The former head of the Republican National Committee has worked with grownups. It’s just that he is now surrounded in the White House by goofballs, thugs, know-nothings and rank political amateurs.

This is part of the Trump modus operandi. He has hired a profane communications chief who parrots the boss — who, in my humble view, is utterly, profoundly and glaringly unfit to be president of the United States of America.

This is what we now have in charge of the executive branch of the federal government.

Do you feel good about it? Neither do I.

Spicer quits, chaos continues

The longest-running open secret came to fruition today with the resignation of Sean Spicer as White House press secretary.

Spicer was thought to be on his way out long ago. He sealed the deal today when Donald J. Trump announced that Anthony Scaramucci would become the new White House communications director.

That meant curtains for Spicer, who reportedly disagreed vehemently with the choice.

To be candid, I am left with decidedly mixed feelings about Spicer’s departure. At one level, I had some sympathy for a press flack who was charged with defending presidential policies in front of the White House press corps. The president, though, made that job even more difficult — indeed, damn near impossible — by contradicting his own messages hourly. Spicer then was left to fend for himself as he sought to explain what the president meant to say or do.

At another level, I was dismayed that Spicer — the former press spokesman for the Republican National Committee — continued in the role for as long as he did.

Consider, too, the strange — to my ears, at least — statement by Scaramucci about Spicer’s departure. “I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money,” he said. Huh? What about saluting his service to the country? Or to the president?

Then, of course, this came from the president himself, who said in a statement that Spicer will succeed, adding, “Just look at this ratings.” What the … ?

I suppose we’ll all just wait for Spicer to tell us what really went on behind the scenes in a White House known above and beyond anything else for its confusion and chaos.

Do you expect the new press flack, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the new communications boss, to assuage media concerns about the White House’s ability to administer anything?

Neither do I.

Hell freezes over: Fox News anchor defends Obama

When a TV anchor for Fox News Channel — the outfit formerly known for its “fair and balanced” mantra — comes to President Barack Obama’s defense, well, then you’ve got my attention.

So it was this week with Julie Banderas, who scolded Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel’s feeble attempt at defending Donald J. Trump’s vulgar tweet about another news talk show host, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski.

Banderas noted that Obama’s critics called him all sorts of names, heaped all sorts of unfair and inaccurate criticism on him. She told McDaniel that the former president responded with dignity and decorum. He chose not to fire off angry tweets in the wee hours of some morning to answer his critics.

Banderas said: “People used to call him a Muslim. People used to call him under-qualified, a sellout to America, a hater of Israel. I mean they called him every name in the book, but you didn’t see him lash out.”

Here is the Fox interview

“Today, the president acted like a human, and he pushed back,” McDaniel told Banderas.

Sorry, Mme. Chairwoman. A “human” doesn’t have to resort to such degrading personal attacks to make whatever point he sought to make. Someone will have to inform me on precisely what the president’s point actually was.

He tweeted something about Brzezinski “bleeding badly from a facelift.” He called her “Crazy Mika.” He attacked yet another female in public life, using language not fit for a junior high school playground, let alone from the commander in chief and head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

Chairwoman McDaniel’s use of the word “human” also should include the word “decency.” If the president had a hint of human decency buried somewhere in his DNA he would have refrained from attacking another human in such a personal and undignified manner.

Julie Banderas was absolutely correct to call the president out for his latest moronic Twitter tirade.

‘I, alone … ‘ should have been given us a clue

Donald J. Trump’s time as president has lasted all of about 122 days — give or take — yet it seems like forever already.

As I look back on this man’s stunning political ascent, I am struck by one moment that I believe in hindsight should have given us a clue on what we might expect.

He stood before the Republican National Convention this past summer in Cleveland and declared that “I, alone” can repair all the things he said are ailing the country.

Setting aside for a moment or two the myriad problems that are bedeviling this man and his administration — and which might cost him his office — that particular statement suggested to me at that moment that this fellow really doesn’t get it.

He doesn’t understand one of the principal tenets of governing, which is that he is participating in a team sport. It’s so critical to understand that notion at the federal level, where the founders established a triple-layered governmental system where one branch holds no more power than the other two.

The presidency is but one branch; it must work in tandem with the Congress. Waiting in the wings to ensure that the executive and legislative branches don’t violate the Constitution are the federal courts, comprising actual judges, not the “so-called” types who render decisions that might go against whatever the president wants to do.

Donald Trump ignores political decorum, custom and practice. As some have noted, he does so either out of ignorance or does so willfully. I’ll take Trump at his word that he is a “smart person,” which means he is invoking a willful disregard for how the federal government is supposed to work.

The concept of governing by oneself does not work. It cannot work. The president is getting a real-time civics lesson in how the nation’s founders established this government of ours. He has vowed to run the country like his business. Yeah, good luck with that.

A business mogul can fire people at will. He can order underlings around, make them do this or that task. He can threaten, bully and coerce others.

When he takes the reins of the executive branch of the federal government, all of that prior experience gets thrown out the window.

How does the president tell Congress — comprising 535 individuals with constituencies and power bases of their own — to do his bidding? And how does the president actually defy the federal judiciary, which the founders established to be an independent check on every single thing the president and Congress enact?

Yes, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee gave it all away when he stood there in Cleveland and bellowed “I, alone” can fix it.

No, Mr. President. You cannot. Nor should you have ever tried.

Moreover, I believe his repeated efforts to trample over Congress and the federal courts are going to bite him hard in the backside as he seeks to defend himself against the other troubles that are threatening him.

Everyone has a limit, right, Sean Spicer?

Every man or woman — even White House press secretaries — would have their limits on the dissembling, confusion and outright lies with which he or she must contend.

Isn’t that right, Sean Spicer.

The current White House flack came to the podium today and declared that the House of Representatives would vote tonight on the American Health Care Act.

Then word came out that, nope, ain’t gonna happen — tonight! It’s been delayed. House Republicans are still trying to gather up enough  votes to send Trump/Ryancare to the Senate, where it faces an even less friendly pool of politicians.

Chaos, anyone?

It’s fair to wonder out loud about Sean Spicer, a man for whom I’m beginning to develop a certain level of sympathy. How much more of this can he take? How much longer will he be able to defend a president’s policies and the seat-of-the-pants process that produces them?

I don’t know much about Spicer, other than he served as Republican National Committee press secretary before joining the White House flackery machine.

Still, is this guy reaching his limit?

How long can Spicer keep defending the indefensible?

I believe it’s a reasonable question: How much longer can Sean Spicer keep defending a president who is unable to tell the truth?

Donald J. Trump keeps trotting out whopper after whopper, putting his press secretary in a patently untenable position of having to defend what he must know is a lie.

Brent Budowsky, a contributor to The Hill, posits the notion that Spicer should quit and that he well might become one of the president’s most high-profile casualties in his ongoing war with the truth.

Here is Budowsky’s essay for The Hill.

I believe Spicer has principles. Sadly — in my view, at least — he seems to have taken some sort of secret oath to bury them while he briefs the media about the president’s torrent of untruths.

The Barack Obama wiretapping fiction is the latest example. Spicer surely knows the president doesn’t have a shred of evidence to back up his allegation that Obama wiretapped his offices at Trump Tower. Then he is forced to dance this rhetorical jig with the media about so-called “air quotes” around the word “wiretap,” meaning that Trump didn’t mean what he said.

How long can this guy Spicer, who was Republican National Committee press secretary before joining the White House staff, continue this charade?

Everyone has his or her limits. Everyone. Even White House press spokesmen.

Comfortable in this retirement skin

This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on upcoming retirement.

Today is Monday. It’s a “work day” for those who still have to work for a living.

It’s also a day in which I made a realization as I walked down the street to collect my mail, before I ran an errand to purchase a couple of musical tickets for my wife and me. It was the realization that I do not miss going to work each day.

I am now entirely comfortable in my retirement skin.

I still work a part-time job. There might be another one resurfacing down the road. However, the idea hit me like a slap in the face today that I no longer miss the daily grind, the deadline pressure associated with the craft I pursued for 37 years.

I damn sure don’t miss the phone calls from those who dislike something I wrote, some of which ended with someone impugning my integrity, my patriotism … and even my religious faith.

Daily journalism delivered many gifts to my family and me over many years. It enabled me to do something I still love to do, which is to share my opinions with others and to write editorials on behalf of the newspaper for which I worked. It provided me with a comfortable living — even as I was forced to take two cuts in pay during the latter years of my employment as my corporate employer struggled to rid itself of the mountainous debt it had accrued.

My job gave me the opportunity to see and do things most folks don’t often get to do: landing atop an aircraft carrier and then being catapulted off the deck is one of those things; flying over an erupting volcano is another; attending and reporting on two presidential nominating conventions ranks up there, too.

That’s all in the past. I remember the vast bulk of my career with great fondness. The final years? Well, not so much. The end of it and how it occurred? Not at all.

These days I am free to run errands during the middle of the work day, in the middle of the week. My wife and I avoid the crowds that way, you know?

This new life also enables me share these views with you on this blog, which keeps me — more or less — in the game, such as it is.

More travel awaits, too.

Yes, this retirement life is getting more fun all the time.