Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

More armchair diagnosis is coming

John Harwood is an educated man. He’s smart. He is well-spoken. He can string sentences together.

He lacks, however, a certain credential that is important in his assessing the president’s state of mind and, I’ll presume, his medical competence: Harwood lacks a medical degree.

He writes for the New York Times, he once wrote for the Wall Street Journal and he is a contributor to CNBC, the cable news network that specializes in business news. He graduated from Duke University with a degree in history and economics.

But here he goes, popping off about Donald Trump’s mental state. He said the president’s press conference before departing the G-7 summit was a stumbling, bumbling performance.

Then he said this on MSNBC: I got to say that the upshot about this press conference was about tariffs. I’ll be honest as a citizen: I’m concerned about the president’s state of mind. He did not look well to me in that press conference. He was not speaking logically or rationally. It sounded as if he was making stuff up, saying China told me nobody’s ever talked to us, saying, ‘Oh, I talked to Justin Trudeau and can’t believe he was getting away with so much trade stuff.’

I don’t think those things are true. And he — there was something about his affect which was oddly kind of languid for him. I don’t know what it means but he did not look well to me.

C’mon, Mr. Harwood. Leave the diagnoses to the pros, the individuals who have training in observing people’s behavior.

This kind of cheap-seat evaluation is getting tiresome. A journalist’s national forum does not give him license to discuss issues of which he knows nothing.

More chaos from Trump; this time it’s those Paris Accords

This is what I mean when I mention the chaos that emanates from Donald J. Trump’s White House.

He said he would pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, citing the worldwide agreement to cut carbon emissions as endangering U.S. jobs. Then comes word that the president is having second thoughts.

Major media outlets — such as the Wall Street Journal — report that Trump is having second thoughts about his decision to pull out of the agreement. The White House says “no!” that’s not the case at all. The president intends to pull out; he’s going to keep one of his major campaign promises, White House flacks insist.

Then there’s confusion over whether he wants to renegotiate the accords to make them more acceptable to whatever concerns he has over them. Is he willing to renegotiate or not? A European Union officials said the United States won’t renegotiate the deal, but will review the terms to decide if there’s some wiggle room to allow continued U.S. participation.

Sheesh! I keep wishing for a No Drama Obama type of White House operation. Former President Barack Obama used to operate under a premise that the less drama, confusion and, yes, chaos, the better for the White House.

Donald Trump’s modus operandi is to pursue precisely the opposite result. The more chaos and confusion, the better.

Can we get our stories straight? Ever?

GOP comes down with ‘buyer’s remorse’


Buyer’s remorse must be spreading.

British voters agree to pull Great Britain out of the European Union and now might be regretting that decision.

Now we hear that most Republicans in this country want someone other than Donald J. Trump to be their party’s presidential nominee.

In both cases, I fear that voters will have to live with the consequences of their decision.


A poll published by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal say that 45 percent of Republicans want Trump to be their nominee. They want someone else to carry the banner into the fight this fall against Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democrats.

Sorry, folks. Here’s the thing: Trump has won more primary contests by far than anyone else. He’s collected enough convention delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot. He’s going to be the GOP nominee this summer when delegates gather in Cleveland.

We have a saying in Texas that goes something like this:

“You dance with them that brung ya.”

Sure, Trump has a seemingly endless list of failings as a national political leader. No need to detail them here. You know what they are.

But he’s won a fair-and-square primary fight against a large field of opponents, most of whom were much more qualified than he is to become commander in chief.

He’s your guy, GOP.

Good luck at the dance.

Hillary might not win the nomination … really?


Is it entirely possible that Hillary Rodham Clinton — the one-time candidate of destiny for the Democratic Party — could lose here party’s presidential nomination after all?

Douglas Schoen — a former pollster for President Bill Clinton — thinks it’s possible.

His thesis is simple.

If U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders wins the California primary next Tuesday, the Democratic brass is going to come down with a case of terminal heebie-jeebies at the prospect of nominating a badly damaged candidate for the presidency.

Where would they turn? Who would redeem the party’s political fortunes?

That would be the vice president of the United States of America, Joseph Biden.

The vice president has said repeatedly two seemingly contradictory things about his decision to opt out of running for the presidency.

One is that he believes he made the right call. Two is that he regrets making that decision.

You might ask: Huh?

If you are, I get it. I’ve asked the same thing.


Honestly, I don’t know what will happen after Tuesday. Everyone’s expectation is that Clinton will secure enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot when Democrats gather this summer in Philadelphia. In addition to California, voters in the Dakotas and New Jersey are going to the polls.

Clinton cancelled campaign events in Jersey to concentrate on California.

What does all this mean for Biden?

“Mr. Biden would be cast as the white knight rescuing the party, and the nation, from a possible (Donald J.) Trump presidency,” the Democratic pollster said in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal.

I’ve stated already my admiration for the vice president. I wish he would have run. I understand why he stayed out. His son, Beau, had just died. The man is still mourning his son’s death.

In every other political year, though, it would appear that Biden’s decision to stay out of the race would be cast in stone.

As we’ve seen at almost every step along the way in this election season, this ain’t like anything we’ve ever seen.


What’s with this ‘national poll’?


More often than not I’m going to look carefully at public opinion poll results.

In this election season, we’re being inundated with them. Republican-leaning polls say one thing; Democratic-leaning polls say another. I prefer to look most closely at polls unaffiliated with either party, or certain ideological think tanks, or media outlets I know to have bias in either direction.

But one recent poll has me wondering: Is this one even relevant to anything?

Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 25 percentage points nationally, according to a poll released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The relevancy issue?

Well, consider a couple of things.

They’re both running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, which means that they’re not going to face each other in a national election. Therefore, they are battling state by state: Iowa, then New Hampshire, then South Carolina . . . and on it goes.

They’ll get to Texas in early March.

Therefore, whether Clinton beats Sanders by a single percent or a million percent in a national poll doesn’t matter one bit.

How are they faring in each state?

The poll does compare the candidates’ chances against a potential Republican nominee and it shows Clinton faring better against the GOP foe than Sanders.

That’s relevant, I guess.

However, these polls pitting one candidate against the other running in the same party primary simply doesn’t register with me.


Some self-awareness, Mr. Vice President


Dick Cheney’s utter lack of self-awareness is an astounding thing to behold.

The former vice president and his daughter, Liz, have co-written a book, “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America.” In an extended excerpt published in the Wall Street Journal, Cheney writes that President Obama has made “false” statements about the Iran nuclear deal.

False statements? Yes, the man who orchestrated — along with the rest of the George W. Bush national security team — this nation’s invasion of Iraq on a whole array of falsehoods has now laid the charge on the man who succeeded President Bush in the White House.

He has joined the GOP amen chorus in blaming Obama for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, contending that the United States has “abandoned” Iraq and is “on course” to do the same thing in Afghanistan.

I don’t disagree with the title of the Cheneys’ book. The world does need a “powerful America.” I will simply add my own view that the world still has a powerful America in its midst.

We remain the world’s pre-eminent military power — by a long shot. Our economy is still the envy of the world. People are aching to gain entry into the United States. Yes, many of them come here illegally, but many more come here legally and in accordance with federal immigration law.

Let us stop denigrating our current role in the world — as many of the GOP presidential candidates have done — by suggesting we’ve lost our place at the top of the geopolitical food chain.

As for the former vice president, he needs to take time for some serious introspection before he accuses others of stating foreign-policy falsehoods.

Read more on this link.

Is HRC 'likable enough' to get elected?

A young U.S. senator, Barack Obama, uttered arguably one of the signature lines of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary campaign when he told fellow Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

I’m betting that Clinton didn’t appreciate the “compliment.”

Now, eight years later, she’s launching another bid for the presidency.


And as the Wall Street Journal reports, her task is to make her “likable enough” to get elected president of the United States next year.

As the WSJ reported: “She needs to try to humanize herself, because in some ways she’s kind of become a cardboard cutout figure,” said Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University.

So, the campaign begins anew for the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.

Many in the media refer to her simply as “Hillary.” Just a mention of that name and you know to whom the reference is being made. Does the first-name familiarity make her likable? Hardly. I continue to believe she needs to translate likability into authenticity.

She remains a political powerhouse. The strength, though, doesn’t always connect with voters in a tangible manner. Clinton at times appears evasive, which hardly lends itself to likability.

I will be among millions of voters looking for signs that she’s capable of understanding the problems, worries and concerns of average American citizens. If she does, she’ll prove she’s for real, that she’s authentic.

And likable.

WSJ gives congressional GOP a swift kick

When the men and women who run Capitol Hill — the Republicans — lose The Wall Street Journal, then they’ve lost their most critical media ally.

I’m not suggesting the WSJ has abandoned the GOP majority, but the paper’s conservative editorial page — one of the best opinion pages in the country — turns on you, then you’d better pay attention.


I’ve long admired the WSJ editorial writers for the way they express themselves. I disagree with the paper’s editorial policy, but few editorial pages say it better than the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ editors are angry at what they’re calling the GOP “Cliff Marchers,” the faction of Republicans who are intent on making some political point than in any actually governing.

As Politico reports about the WSJ’s scolding: “House Republicans refuse to fund (Department of Homeland Security) without forcing the president to dismantle the changes (in Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration), while Senate Republicans do not believe they can win the standoff. The Senate voted last week to fund the department through the end of the fiscal year without altering the president’s immigration orders, but the House has not yet agreed to take up the bill.”

The WSJ writes: “Republicans need to do some soul searching about the purpose of a Congressional majority, including whether they even want it.”

The Journal argues that Congress should go fund DHS and move on to bigger issues, such as the budget. The paper believes the president’s immigration order — in which he delays deportation of millions of undocumented residents — will be settled by the courts.

It’s good advice. Are you listening, GOP members of Congress? Get busy and start governing.


Actually, Mr. Mayor, I heard you clearly

Rudy Guiliani has tried to explain his harsh criticism of Barack Obama by saying that his bluntness got in the way of his message.

He writes in the Wall Street Journal: “My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart.”

Well, OK. I heard his remarks. I’ve read them carefully. I think I understand exactly what he said and the message he intended to convey.

For the record, the former New York mayor was speaking at an event honoring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who’s considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination next year. Guiliani decided to say that the president “doesn’t love America.” Then he went on to say he didn’t question the president’s patriotism.

Those statements seem to be mutually exclusive. A patriot, by definition, loves his country. Am I missing something? I don’t think so.

The former mayor — a one-time candidate for the GOP presidential nomination — went on at some length to tell his audience that the president has a “different” view of the nation from, well, others.

A day or two later, Guiliani tried to counter criticism from some that his attacks were racially motivated, saying that the president was raised by a “white mother.” Someone will have to explain that one to me.

Then he mentioned that young Barack was brought up with “communist influences.” Huh?

I heard the former mayor clearly. I think I know what he intended to say. He’s a well-educated, usually well-spoken man who’s used to the limelight. He undoubtedly wasn’t suffering from stage fright at that dinner the other evening.

He simply was mistaken to the max in his assessment of the president’s love of country.


Run, Mitt, run!

Peggy Noonan is a brilliant writer and solid conservative thinker.

However, she’s misinformed if she can predict that Mitt Romney would repeat the mistakes that doomed his 2012 presidential campaign in the event he chooses to run for president once again in 2016.


She implores Mitt not to run for the White House next year.

C’mon, Ms. Noonan. Give the guy a shot. Let’s see if he can correct those mistakes.

She writes in the Wall Street Journal: “He is yesterday, we need tomorrow. He is an example of what didn’t work, we have to turn the page. He is and always has been philosophically murky—it’s almost part of his charm—but it’s not what’s needed now. He ran a poor campaign in 2012 and will run a poor one in 2016. He was a gaffe machine — ‘47%’; “I have some great friends that are Nascar team owners” — and those gaffes played into the party’s brand problems.”

I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that Mitt needs to seek to redeem himself. Yes, he ran a shoddy campaign. He could have avoided those missteps and perhaps made a serious horse race of it against President Obama. It was reasonably close in the popular vote, but the president’s Electoral College win was quite decisive.

I’m not planning to vote for Mitt if he chooses to run again.

I’m simply rooting for his redemption. He’s smarter than he demonstrated on the 2012 campaign trail. I mean, he did rescue a floundering Olympic bid in Salt Lake City. And, oh yes, he authored a health care reform bill in Massachusetts that became a model for the federal program pushed through Congress by the man he sought to defeat; it’s just too bad he all but disavowed the Massachusetts plan as he sought to condemn the Affordable Care Act.

I know Mitt will be a long shot, what with the TEA party wing of the GOP grooming candidates to make their pitch.

Go for it, Mitt. Don’t listen to Peggy Noonan.