Why won’t GOP govern?

Why in the name of sound fiscal management is Congress — led by Republicans in the House of Representatives — unable to approve a long-term budget deal that avoid the catastrophe that awaits us at the end of this month?

The federal government might be headed for another shutdown if Congress doesn’t approve enough money to keep services running. These are the services that you and I pay for with our tax money, services we expect to receive in return for the government demanding our funds.

Is it me or does it appear that these crises always seem to play out when the GOP controls the congressional purse strings while a Democrat sits in the big chair behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office?

This particular House GOP majority, although it is of an extremely slim margin, is being driven by the impulses that coarse through the veins of the MAGA Moron caucus that has managed to outshout not only Democrats but also the more reasonable members of the once-great Republican Party.

The MAGA minions insist on impeaching President Biden before they consider approving a federal budget. For what? Beats the hell out of me!

The MAGAites even have steamrolled House Speaker Kevin McCarthy into toeing their line. McCarthy went seemingly overnight from being someone who blamed the MAGA mouthpiece in chief for inciting the 1/6 assault on our government to becoming one of the dipsh**’s chief allies in the House. That’s not good enough to satisfy the MAGA morons.

So, here we are. Government could shut down again by Oct. 1. We’ll get to hear nonsensical speeches from GOP House members and perhaps even some senators about the wisdom of shutting it all down.

It is government performed by the cosmically stupid.

College stands tall

Someone will have to help me solve a mystery about a community my wife and I called home for more than 23 years.

Of all the public institutions with which we dealt over the years, only one of them — Amarillo College — has remained unscathed by tension, turmoil, tumult. AC recently bid adieu to its latest president, Russell Lowery-Hart, who has become chancellor of the Austin Community College System.

He received a rousing sendoff from the college and the community that supports it. Contrast that with the recent departure of Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller, who basically got canned by the City Council over differences between Miller and council policy direction.

I will acknowledge it hasn’t always been this smooth at AC. I arrived in Amarillo in early 1995 and became acquainted immediately with former AC president Bud Joyner. Fred Williams and Steve Jones followed Joyner; Williams’ tenure didn’t go quite so well. Then came longtime AC administrator Paul Matney’s turn as president. He restored the college’s standing in grand fashion, guiding the school to expanding its presence in communities outside of Amarillo.

You want some more contrast? How about the dust-up with the Canyon ISD over curriculum and books being offered to students? Then we have the 2019 brouhaha in the Amarillo ISD over the resignation of a high school volleyball coach and her assertion that an AISD trustee had meddled in the way the coach was doing her job.

Meanwhile, Amarillo College has continued to flourish, continued to expand its reach into the community. It has restored intercollegiate athletic offerings to its students, plastering the Badger image all over the main campus on Washington Street to remind us of the school’s athletic team nickname and mascot.

AC has selected an interim president. The board of regents will look for a permanent president in due course. The good news for the regents, I’ll venture a guess, will be that it won’t be in a huge hurry to find a permanent president, given the school’s current solid condition.

Back to my initial inquiry at the top of this post. Is there a way for AC to market its formula for success and pitch it to other public institutions that have struggled with maintaining the trust of its constituents?

Where’s the … beef?

My patience with congressional Republicans is wearing thin, so thin in fact that I feel the need to call them out on all that so-called “evidence” they purport to have on President Biden’s alleged corruption.

Where is it? What is it? From whom are they getting it?

The U.S. House is embarking on that impeachment inquiry sought by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, at the behest of the MAGA morons to pull his strings. The usual gang of loudmouths say the House must actually impeach the president before they act on things such as, oh, a federal budget.

Good grief, man!

Evidence? An actual “high crime or misdemeanor”? Have they developed a pattern? Hell no!

They have concocted a conclusion. Now the House Republican caucus is looking for a trail that will lead them to the conclusion they already have approved.

We hear a lot these days about the “rule of law,” yes? This isn’t how the rules work. They work when you come up with sufficient evidence to investigate; then you investigate and then you reach whatever conclusion your probe leads you … not the other way around!

What we see in this inquiry is more akin to the “rite of revenge.” House Democrats impeached Donald Trump twice after the then-POTUS sought a political favor from a foreign head of state and then exhorted the mob of traitors to storm the Capitol Building on 1/6.

Republicans won’t stand for that, so they’re seeking something to hang round a Democratic president’s neck.

I hear a glimmer of good news out there, which is that many non-MAGA moron Republicans are joining their Democratic colleagues in Congress and warning of the folly of impeaching a president who — if I may be blunt — does not deserve it.

RINO gets re-defined

An amazing transformation has occurred within the American political dictionary over the past, oh, six year or so.

The term RINO has taken on a new meaning, one that has nothing to do with what I understand the acronym was created to symbolize.

RINO is shorthand for Republican In Name Only. I long have understood the term as one that describes someone who talks a good Republican game, but who veers far from normal GOP orthodoxy with his or her votes or public policy decisions.

These days? It is used as an epithet for anyone who opposes the presence of Donald John Trump on the political stage. Here’s where the irony gets so rich you damn near choke on it: Of all the prominent Republicans in action today, Trump himself is the personification of a RINO.

He once said that abortion should be legal, then he changed his mind. He has disparaged the men and women who serve in the military. Trump has cozied up to dictators such as, let’s see, former KGB spy Vladimir Putin, Marxist North Korean thug Kim Jong Un. He trashes our intelligence network. Trump wants to yank the United States out of NATO. He applauded Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. During his term as president, the nation rang up the largest debt in history.

Do you get where I’m going here?

And yet those who adhere to Trumpism contend that those who don’t are the RINOs of this world.

Trump has redefined Republicanism, turning into something barely recognizable to real Republicans.

Therefore, he has reshaped the American political glossary, turning it into … damn, I don’t know what to call it.

Go figure.

Fight is far from finished

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made his point with crystal clarity … which is that the fight among Texas Republicans is far from over in light of the acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton in his historic impeachment trial.

To be honest, I really shouldn’t give a rat’s backside of the looming GOP fight. I just fear it’s going to bring even more scorn to the state my wife and I chose to call home nearly 40 years ago.

Patrick, as president of the Texas Senate, presided over the AG’s trial and, to my thinking, did a credible job of staying out of the way. Then came the acquittal by 30 senators. That gave Patrick license, in his mind, to declare that the impeachment was a waste of time and money. It was nothing of the sort.

He blamed House Republicans — who voted overwhelmingly to join their Democratic colleagues to impeach Paxton — for what others have called a “kangaroo court” and a “sham.” The GOP controls both legislative chambers, so in Patrick’s view, most House members were “supposed” to join their Senate colleagues in giving Paxton a pass.

We are witnessing a Texas version of what is transpiring nationally with Republicans fighting among themselves, divided between those who are loyal to the rule of law and those who adhere to the doctrine of a political party.

It looks horrible at a national level … and it’s just as ugly as it plays out in Austin.

Senators aren’t RINOs

Robert Nichols and Kelly Hancock already have been labeled Republicans In Name Only by the Ken Paxton acolytes who are angry at the state senators for voting their conscience in the just-completed Senate impeachment trial of the formerly suspended attorney general.

Sens. Nichols and Hancock did what they felt was the right thing to do, which was vote to convict Paxton on the impeachment articles tossed onto senators’ laps by the overwhelming House majority that impeached him for misconduct of his office.

I would laugh out loud at the notion that Nichols and Hancock are RINOs, except that it isn’t a funny accusation to make. Hancock, from Tarrant County, is considered one of the more conservative members of the Senate; Nichols, who hails from Jacksonville, isn’t far behind.

And yet … the Paxton crowd is going to tar these men for agreeing with their fellow House Republicans that Paxton committed misdeeds worthy of him getting tossed from office.

This signals arguably the start of a sort of “civil war” among the MAGA wing of the Texas GOP and the rest of the Republicans in the Legislature. The MAGA wing won the argument when the Senate acquitted Paxton and allowed him to return to work.

Nichols and Hancock aren’t up for re-election until 2026, which might explain why they showed the backbone missing among their Republican colleagues. Perhaps they see tempers cooling enough until the 2026 GOP primary season kicks into high gear.

Whatever. Neither man is a RINO, period. Given the state of the Republican Party these days, the RINO label just might stick to them.

That would be a shame.

GOP gap widens with acquittal

Dan Patrick wasted no time in displaying his partisan stripes after the Texas Senate acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton of the charges leveled against him by the House of Reps that impeached him.

The lieutenant governor blasted the House for “wasting” taxpayers’ money on an impeachment that didn’t produce a conviction on any of the 16 charges examined by senators.

Fellow Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan fired back, calling Patrick’s remarks unseemly while defending the House for acting on a legitimate complaint brought by the House panel charged with investigating wrongdoing in state government. Phelan said this in a statement:

Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial escalates Republican civil war | The Texas Tribune

OK, I’ll go with Phelan’s view of this intraparty civil war that now appears ready to burst into full-throated venom.

From my seat in North Texas, the House acted within its purview. The Senate acted, too, within its own set of rules. I disagree with the Senate’s findings and its conclusion, which of course shouldn’t surprise anyone.

As for the process being a waste of time and money, it was nothing of the sort. If anything, the Senate well might have been the major wasters by closing its collective mind to what the House investigators determined when they recommended impeachment.

AG goes back to work … but how?

Well, I guess Ken Paxton goes back to work as the chief law enforcement officer in Texas.

But how in the world does he do that, given all he has been through and all the negative exposure his conduct has brought to the state?

The Texas Senate acquitted Paxton on 16 charges brought against him by the overwhelming House decision to impeach him. Fourteen senators voted to convict, with 16 voting to acquit; only two Republican senators crossed over to convict Paxton. Paxton’s impeachment forced the state to suspend him from his job.

The AG remains heavily damaged goods, no matter the outcome of this unprecedented Senate impeachment trial. He still faces state charges of securities fraud and will stand trial — eventually, I suppose — for those alleged crimes, which were delivered in 2015 by an indictment handed down by a Collin County grand jury.

Has he done anything to mend the damaged fence between the parties? Here is what the Texas Tribune reported: “The sham impeachment coordinated by the Biden Administration with liberal House Speaker Dade Phelan and his kangaroo court has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, disrupted the work of the Office of Attorney General and left a dark and permanent stain on the Texas House,” Paxton said in a statement. “The weaponization of the impeachment process to settle political differences is not only wrong, it is immoral and corrupt.”

There are no heroes to be found in this proceeding. I would congratulate the attorney general, except that his presence on the state payroll sickens me. He personifies the type of so-called Republican who is more loyal to a man — Donald J. Trump — than he is to the constitutions of the nation and the state.

Several of Paxton’s key legal assistant AGs quit after blowing the whistle that brought about the impeachment articles. Make no mistake, either, of the fact that many Texans disagree with the findings of the Senate, that they believe — as I do — that Paxton is unfit to hold the office of attorney general.

That is the environment to which Paxton is returning to work.

God help the state that now must repair the damage brought to its reputation by this individual.

Paxton wins, integrity loses

On the day that the Texas Senate voted to give suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton a pass on a litany of allegations filed against him, I got a flier in my mailbox that said something quite different.

Texans Against Public Corruption sent it out with brief testimonials from four prominent Texas conservatives who say that Paxton has destroyed public integrity with his willful conduct as the state AG.

Who are these folks? Former Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy and former state Sen. Konni Burton. Perry shames the Texas GOP for seeking to “delegitimize the impeachment process”; Roy said Paxton “must resign”; Burton wonders how a man who cheats on his wife can tell the truth to his constituents; Gohmert says bluntly that “the guy is corrupt.”

Sigh …

A two-week impeachment trial ended today with acquittals on 16 impeachment counts, with just two Republicans joining Democrats to convict a guy whom the House impeached in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.

The acquittal means Paxton can return to his job as AG, returning to the same sleazy atmosphere from which he was suspended after his impeachment.

I clearly was hoping for a different outcome, given the shame that Paxton has brought to the office he has disgraced since 2015. I won’t surrender totally to the political gods, though. He still has a state charge of securities fraud for which he eventually will stand trial and the federal government is continuing to examine other corruption allegations.

Just maybe there is a semblance of justice to be found. I was hoping it would arrive today in the Texas Senate chamber.

It only takes one …

Texas senators have 16 chances to rid the state of an embarrassment and they need to agree only one of them to boot state Attorney General Ken Paxton out of the office that, in my view, he has disgraced.

Senators are deliberating today for the second day on the impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives. It has been a sh** show, clown show and a riveting time as prosecutors and defense counsel have grilled witnesses on allegations that Paxton abused his office.

I believe he has done so … but it isn’t my call, as I am sitting out here in the Collin County peanut gallery awaiting what I hope is a verdict to send the guy packing.

Nine Senate Republicans need to join their Democratic colleagues to convict Paxton on any of the 16 charges, which center mainly on his relationship with Nate Paul, a big-time real estate mogul and campaign contributor.

I’m going to wait patiently for the Senate to do its job. More to come later … I am sure.

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