Category Archives: political news

Most important … ever!

My active involvement in presidential elections goes back a while, to 1972, when I cast my first vote for president.

And just as surely as the sun rises in the morning, every election cycle has contained the phrase “the most important election in our lifetime.”

I believe the 2024 election fits the bill. It’s the real thing. It appears to be the most important election in our nation’s storied history.

The candidates for president aren’t the best we can offer. The consequence of electing one of these men is what gives the result the heft it deserves.

Where do we stand? The Democratic Party nominee appears to be the incumbent, Joe Biden. Then again …

The president had that debate a few days ago and everything seems to have changed. The party of which he has been a faithful member might be turning on him. Or it might stand firm. He looked and sounded like a doddering old man in that debate and the party faithful is full of doubting members who are concerned about whether he’s up to the job.

The Republican Party nominee? Oh, brother. He is a former POTUS who got impeached twice while in office. He’s now a convicted felon. There might be more convictions on the way. Donald Trump has vowed to sic the Justice Department on his political foes. He well could end our support for Ukraine, which is fighting the Russian invaders. He vows to reverse virtually every law that Biden has signed. Trump has threatened to toss the U.S. Constitution into the shi**er on the first day of his administration.

Consequential election? The most important in US history?

It damn sure looks that way to me.

Are we really and truly ready to throw the very foundation of our government — the one other nations use as their model for freedom and liberty — away because a newly elected president wants to make friends with killers, despots and tyrants?

If we are then … God help us!

How can GOP go through this change?

Never, not ever in a zillion years, will I understand what has become of the modern Republican Party.

It has gone from being a party that prided itself on moral rectitude, on so-called “family values” and on insisting that character matters in selecting candidates for our cherished public offices to a cult-following mob of miscreants who tie their hay wagon to the heels of a man named Donald John Trump.

Trump stood before us this week and launched into a never-ending tirade of lies that will not draw a single rebuke from what passes as leadership within the once-Grand Old Party.

His brazenness defies logic.

I’ve already discussed briefly the abysmal performance turned in by President Biden. However, I am not going to join the amen chorus calling on him to step aside.

I am, however, going to call attention to the moral decline of the Republican Party. For the third presidential election cycle in a row, the GOP is nominating a convicted felon, an admitted sexual assailant, a serial philanderer, someone who has been found liable in a court of law for the rape of a woman.

There once was a time when the parties sought to nominate the best among us for our nation’s highest office. Donald Trump represents the worst of us.

If we Americans are so damn stupid to give this guy the keys to the White House once again, then we are in far worse condition as a nation than I ever thought possible.

Waiting anxiously for debate

For a long time I have been cautious about referring to events when two or more politicians stand on a stage as “debates.”

They aren’t, really. they have allowed the candidates to pontificate and excoriate their foes. But they do occasionally bring moments of excitement. They even have helped turn elections in favor of candidates.

Do you remember the time in 1976 when President Ford said Eastern Europe was “not dominated” by the Soviet Union? Of course it was! He lost the election that year. Or when Ronald Reagan asked us in 1980 whether we were “better off than you were four years ago.” We weren’t. Reagan won in a landslide.

The format for the Thursday appearance with President Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump will be without a studio audience and will have a sound cutoff when the candidates exceed the time limit or when they tell a lie knowingly.

I am one American patriot who will wait anxiously to see how Trump handles the mike sound issue. He and his MAGA cult followers already are saying the debates is rigged. Who knew?

Something tells me we might see more than our share of meltdowns as Trump seeks to lie his way past the silent mikes. Will it influence the end of this miserable campaign? I damn sure hope so.

Stakes are um … huge!

One week out and I am trying to recall the last time I looked forward to a presidential debate with such trepidation.

I cannot remember when that occurred. Maybe it never did.

President Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump will go toe-to-toe next week in the first of two planned joint appearances.

Biden and Trump are running neck-and-neck. Why is that? That’s beyond me. However, the polling suggests a photo finish this election cycle.

Here is my hope for a debate outcome.

My hope is that President Biden brings his “A” game. That he remains cool, calm and collected. That he reminds viewers of what lies ahead if voters are dumb enough to send the former numbskull in chief back to the Oval Office. That he reminds us that we cannot possibly elect convicted felon to the nation’s most glorious public office. That he tells us of the existential threat to our democracy if Trump is able to give Russian goon Vladimir Putin a free hand in his immoral invasion of Ukraine.

And that he just lets Trump zoom into orbit with his nonsensical rants about The Big Lie and how much “love” was shown during the violent assault on our Capitol on Jan. 6.

This debate could be the game changer that many of us hope occurs.

What would Ike think?

Today and other days this week have my mind flashing back to the first president I remember during my tine on this Earth.

I was born in 1949, during the second term of Harry Truman’s administration. My initial memory of the president begins with Dwight Eisenhower.

I want to preface my brief remarks by reminding readers of these facts. Eisenhower led the World War II Allied forces to victory in Europe in 1945. The victory march began 80 years ago today when Ike ordered the D-Day invasion of northern France to begin. He achieved General of the Army status. He ran for the presidency in 1952 and won in a landslide; he would repeat the landslide victory four years later.

Ike was a Republican and today I am wondering: What in the name of all that is holy would President Eisenhower think of what has become of the party he once led to the pinnacle of power?

Ike wasn’t a career politician when he decided to run for president. He had spent his professional life in the military, arguably the least political job one can hold in service to the public. His concerns didn’t rely on political considerations.

Eisenhower led by example and was adamantly faithful to the oath he took to protect and defend the Constitution. He took the oath while wearing his uniform and then as president of the United States.

I cannot help but wonder what Ike would think of the great political party he once led in this era of fealty to one man. Gen. Eisenhower died in 1969, just eight years after leaving the presidency in the hands of the “next generation” led by President John F. Kennedy.

He warned us in his farewell speech of the dangers of the “military-industrial complex.” He knew those dangers better than almost any other living American in that moment.

This man was a leader. He wore his military uniform with pride and was far from the “sucker” and “loser” that one of his presidential successors has proclaimed others who choose that career to be.

That successor, himself a sucker and loser and now a convicted felon, would be unfit to carry Eisenhower’s briefcase. Yet here is, leading Ike’s once-great political party.

What has happened to the Grand Old Party?

Bizarre season awaits

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friend and foe we all are standing on the doorstep of the craziest, most bizarre and unexplainable political season in history.

That is no hyperbole. It is for real. It is a sickening reality of the state of the American political system and how it has transformed from a process that selects only the very best men and women among us to run for president to one that perverts the rule of law and allows for a major-party POTUS candidate to challenge the very integrity of the system he could take an oath to defend and protect.

Oh, my. Pass the Pepto.

Donald Trump will face a sentencing hearing on July 11 after being convicted on 34 felony counts of paying a porn actress illegally to keep her quiet about a sexual encounter she said the two of them had in 2006. The 45th POTUS denies it took place. The actress, Stephanie Clifford — aka Stormy Daniels — said it did. The jury believed her account and handed down the 34-count guilty verdict.

Less than a week after the hearing, Republicans will gather in Milwaukee to nominate their next candidate for president. It will be — yes, that’s right — the aforementioned convicted criminal.

Is this utterly bizarre, or what?

I was thinking recently of a long-ago time when a vice-presidential candidate was forced to withdraw because of reports he had electro-shock therapy to treat him for depression. The VP nominee was Thomas Eagleton, whom the 1972 presidential nominee George McGovern had selected to run on the Democratic ticket with him. I remember at the time that the media went ballistic over the revelation of treatment; it was successful, by the way. The party, though, got the nervous nellies over it and forced Eagleton to step away. McGovern and the new VP nominee, Sargent Shriver, lost to President Nixon in a historic 49-state landslide.

Now we have this prospect awaiting the next major-party candidate. The POTUS candidate is now convicted of a felony. He is awaiting trial on two federal charges and a third charge in another state court. He has been accused of inciting the assault on our government on Jan. 6, 2021; of hiding classified documents taken illegally from the White House; and of pressuring Georgia officials to “find” enough votes for him to declare victory in that state in 2020.

Are these the kinds of things we now should expect in our presidential candidate? Are we now set to elect this convicted criminal to another term as POTUS?

What in the name of Almighty God have we become if that is the case?

Let us all hold on, gang, for the roughest political ride we’ve ever seen … or likely will ever see.

Give this man his due … and some grace

He became the butt of jokes and misdirected criticism back in the day … not so much now that the man you see in this picture is so frail and is grieving the loss of his wife of more than 70 years.

You know him as James Earl Carter, the nation’s 39th president. He served one term in the White House before losing to Ronald Reagan in 1980. Republicans running for POTUS too often paint President Carter’s term as a failure. It wasn’t. His term, though, was damaged grievously by inflationary pressure and by the capture and prolonged imprisonment of those 55 American hostages held by Islamic militants in Iran.

Let’s understand something about this good man. He lived his deep Christian faith. He didn’t just talk about it or pose in awkward and phony photo ops to call attention to it. He rolled up his sleeves and went to work with his wife in building homes for those who needed one.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter helped make Habitat for Humanity a household word.

Beyond that, though, President Carter taught us to live life to its fullest and to avoid taking credit for the good work he does. One does not hear this man boast about the work he has done, or how he spreads the teachings of Jesus Christ, to whom he is deeply faithful.

I have seen this social media meme proclaiming that “this is how a true Christian” demonstrates his faith. It shows Jimmy Carter working to build a home and it makes a direct comparison to the phony brand of faith preached by the likes of Republican former POTUS Donald Trump.

The meme is meant to illustrate how this topsy-turvy world has been turned on its ear with political operatives hijacking Americans’ deep religious faith and perverting it for political purposes.

It is utterly anathema to the life that President Jimmy Carter continues to live.

Listen to my friend, Mr. POTUS

I have a friend with whom I share an interest in politics and public policy. She is well-read and is a student of the process that delivers policy decisions to us … for better or worse.

She believes President Biden is trailing the presumptive GOP presidential nominee because he has become tone-deaf to the current reality. Which is that not all Americans are feeling as good about the economy as the president thinks they are.

Thus, my friend surmises, he should stop crowing about the economy and appeal directly to the fear that many of us have about the possibility that the former Sexual Assailant in Chief just might win the presidency once again.

Biden needs to talk directly and incessantly about the threat to our democratic system that the wannabe dictator poses to our system.

Americans are historically proud of the liberty we enjoy. The GOP nominee-to-be is stated categorically that he intends to impose a dictatorship “for one day only” if he becomes POTUS. One day? Really? Do you think the former Liar in Chief will reinstate all our democratic norms?

He has boasted about his placing three justices on the Supreme Court, and their hand in revoking women’s right to terminate pregnancies. Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 SCOTUS decision is now history. Biden vows to restore it if he’s re-elected. His opponent promises to tighten the screws women’s reproductive rights.

Democratic political guru James Carville, no slouch on these matters, said recently that the Republican message has gained traction. The GOP nominee’s hush money trial isn’t making a dent in the lead Carville says he enjoys. Democrats are blowing it, Carville declared. Remember, this is the guy who coined the phrase in 1992 that “It’s the economy, stupid.” It worked for Bill Clinton.

Well, my friend is on board with the likes of Carville. She, too, wants Biden to crystallize his message, harden it to drive home the point that our democracy is in dire peril if Americans make the wrong choice at the ballot box this fall.

Listen to these people, Mr. President! They’re all pulling for you!

We have dumbed down our standards

You are welcome to conclude whatever you wish about the statement that will follow in this blog … such as that I am the “master of the obvious.”

I don’t mind. Nor do I care.

The trial in New York on the hush money payment POTUS No. 45 made to Stormy Daniels — aka Stephanie Clifford — is revealing in the starkest terms possible how our political climate has dumbed down voters’ concern about character in the candidates who seek public office.

I haven’t been following the trial too closely, but I have gleaned enough from it to realize many things about the support that the one-time Philanderer in Chief is able to claim among the MAGA cultists around the country.

We have learned in graphic detail about Clifford’s assertion over what happened in the hotel room that night in 2006. The future POTUS’s wife had just given birth to his fifth child, yet there he was in the room dressing down to his silk skivvies asking the adult film actress to take a tumble with him.

Do you remember the day — I sure do! — when that kind of conduct was considered a deal-breaker? How about the sickening “Access Hollywood” recording in which the Groper in Chief boasted how he would grab women by their private parts? And that they enjoyed it because he was “famous”?

I do not get any of this! So help me, I do not understand how an individual who once held the office of POTUS, who wants it once again, continues to receive the level of support from American voters who do not now seem to give a sh** about the acknowledged behavior of the man who seeks their vote.

This drama will play out in due course. I am left to wonder: Are we really ready to toss aside the standards we once set for the people from whom we choose to lead this great country?

God help us if we take that perilous path.

Hoping speaker survives

An earlier post on this blog noted the absence of signage extolling the candidacy of the POTUS No. 45.

I want to discuss briefly another candidate who is showing plenty of lawn-sign support in the city he represents in the Texas Legislature.

Dade Phelan is running for re-election against David Covey for the House of Representatives in Beaumont. Phelan also doubles as speaker of the lower legislative chamber. This contest — to borrow a phrase once muttered by the current president — is a big fu**ing deal.

I noticed many lawn signs adorning neighborhoods throughout north and west Beaumont. Virtually all of ’em were for Phelan. I saw one Covey sign near Interstate 10.

Why is this a big deal? Because Covey has no experience as a legislator. He is a stalking horse candidate, a MAGA loyalist, a pal of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Covey has never run for public office. Yet he finished first in the Republican Party primary in March; Phelan finished second. Covey didn’t reach the 50% mark to win the primary outright, so Phelan and Covey are now in a runoff.

I have heard from two sources, one of whom serves in the House with Phelan, that Covey well might knock the speaker out of office in the May 28 runoff. The other source happens to be a former newspaper colleague of mine who lives in Beaumont who echoed my legislative friend’s assessment.

The political advertising in Beaumont has been ferocious … and dishonest. One ad features a doctored photo showing former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hugging Phelan’s neck, suggesting that Phelan is a closet liberal. Good grief, man! He isn’t!

I don’t know Dade Phelan. I left Beaumont nearly 30 years ago. I am acquainted with his dad, a well-heeled real estate developer in Beaumont. What I know of the younger Phelan is that he is a mainstream conservative who allowed the House to work its will in impeaching Paxton on charges of corruption, and who eventually survived the Senate trial.

Do I have a dog in this fight? Not really, I suppose, except that the Legislature serves all Texans. I am alarmed at the MAGA movement’s encroachment in local politics. Therefore, I don’t want to see Dade Phelan booted from the Texas House because he allowed his colleagues to do what they believed was right.

Thus, I hope the plethora of signs bodes well for Speaker Phelan.