Tag Archives: RNC

‘The Gun Guy’ is getting back into the game

Well, I’ll be hornswoggled.

Jerry Patterson wants his old job back. What is that? He is the former Texas land commissioner who four years ago decided against seeking a third term.

His successor is George P. Bush, the grandson and nephew of two former presidents of the United States. Patterson doesn’t think Bush has done well at the Land Office. He considers him to be too much of a politician with his eyes seemingly on grander political prizes.

So the former Texas state senator who once was known primarily for authoring the state’s concealed handgun carry legislation in 1995 is wanting to get back into the political game.

I welcome Patterson back. The former “gun guy” is going to liven the Republican Party primary if he actually takes the plunge.

I remember meeting him years ago during his time as land commissioner. I found him to be self-deprecating yet smart at the same time. I recall him mentioning how he finished “in the top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M.” He was acutely aware that his primary legislative accomplishment — enactment of the concealed carry bill — would brand him with the “gun guy” moniker.

Those two matters endeared him immediately as someone who did not take himself as seriously as he takes his public service responsibility.

I’ve never met George P. Bush, although I do remember him speaking on behalf of “Poppy” Bush during the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston. The youngster stood at the Astrodome podium as a 16-year-old and declared “Viva Boosh!” in an appeal to Latino voters, given that his mother is an immigrant from Mexico. He brought the house down.

The next time I would see his name would be during the 2014 campaign for Texas land commissioner.

Patterson seems to be primed for a tough battle against the incumbent, according to the Texas Tribune: “Patterson has been a regular critic, recently sending an editorial contrasting the land office’s response to Hurricane Ike, when he was in charge, with his response to Harvey this year. “Harvey victims still living in tents along the coast are, at least in part, victims of a politician’s desire to look good for the next election by being a ‘small government Republican,'” Patterson wrote in what looks like a preview of his political campaign.

This could be a fascinating campaign to watch.

Go for it, Mr. Gun Guy!

Dare we say, ‘Lock him up’?

It’s difficult to feel much sympathy for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

He has pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the FBI about when and with whom he met with the Russian government. He faces a possible prison sentence — once he finishes cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into that “Russia thing.”

I doubt he’ll serve prison time. But that’s just me. Whether he remains free or in behind bars might depend on the quality of the goods he delivers to Mueller’s team of legal eagles.

However, Flynn now is being cast in a curious role in this probe. He stands to become the star witness for the special counsel’s office in its search for answers into whether the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government that hacked into our 2016 presidential election process.

Here’s the juxtaposition that cannot be ignored:

Flynn stood at the podium in the summer of 2016 during the Republican National Convention and led the GOP faithful into that ghastly chant “Lock her up!” — the reference being aimed at Hillary Rodham Clinton and her use of her personal e-mail service while she was serving as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

I use the term “ghastly” because such conduct was totally unbecoming of a man with a distinguished military career who morphed into a leading politician’s national security adviser. Flynn, though, took the low road in that preposterous display.

Will this guy be locked up? Will he get the kind of punishment he urged for a political foe?

It’s tempting to shout “Lock him up!” I won’t do it, though.

Oh, wait! Maybe I just did.

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?