Tag Archives: Secretary of State

On second thought, Palin talks herself out of job?


Sarah Palin must not want a job in the Trump administration after all.

How else does one explain the former half-term Alaska governor going after the president-elect’s deal to save those Carrier jobs in Indiana? She calls it “crony capitalism,” which is shorthand for a policy that gives tax breaks to political allies and large corporations.

Donald J. Trump took credit for allegedly persuading Carrier — the Indiana-based air conditioning and heating company — from moving jobs off shore. In exchange, the company was able to get a big tax break from the state of Indiana, which is governed by Mike Pence, the soon-to-be vice president of the United States.

Palin, meanwhile, had emerged as a possible candidate to become secretary of veterans affairs. Ugghh! Perish that thought.


Now she pops off — goes “rogue,” if you will — by declaring the Trump deal with Carrier is no good.

“When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent,” Palin wrote in an essay. “Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember?”

OK, the Carrier deal has nothing to do with overseeing veterans issues. So, is Palin wrong to speak out against this crony capitalism idea? Not really.

Then again, she has just tossed a mud ball at the guy with whom she supposedly is trying to curry favor. She wants a job in the Cabinet.

I would say her chances of getting any nod in a Trump administration normally would be tossed into the crapper … that is, until I recall all those mean things Mitt Romney said about Trump during the GOP primary campaign.

What does Mitt get for speaking the brutal truth about the president-elect? A nice dinner at a Trump-owned eatery and a possible nomination as secretary of state.

Trump’s flack talks against … Trump


Kellyanne Conway leveled a most unusual criticism over the weekend.

Her boss, Donald J. Trump, has invited Mitt Romney to visit with him for the purpose of deciding whether he wants the 2012 Republican presidential nominee to be the next secretary of state.

Conway, though, doesn’t want Mitt to take the job. He doesn’t want the president-elect to consider him for the job.

I cannot remember ever hearing a transition flunky question out loud the actions of a president-elect. Not one time have I heard such a thing.

However, this is what is happening.

Conway managed the Trump campaign to victory against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Trump is the president-elect. Conway is his hired hand. She works for him.

Now she’s questioning his judgment in interviewing Mitt Romney for the most visible Cabinet post in the new administration?

I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts the chaos that has developed in the Trump transition effort. I believe Conway’s anti-Mitt rhetoric illustrates the chaos perfectly.

Surely, Mitt doesn’t need a paycheck

Mitt Romney once called it exactly right about Donald Trump.

He called the next president of the United States a “phony,” a “fraud.” Romney questioned whether Trump was hiding some potentially criminal activity by refusing to release his tax returns.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee said some amazingly harsh things about the 45th president. Romney endeared himself so much to many Americans — me included — that we actually begin thinking kindly of him, wishing he were the GOP candidate instead of Trump.

Why, I even began referring to him by his first name, which actually is his middle name. Mitt this, Mitt that.

So, what in the world is Mitt doing by making himself available to be considered for secretary of state in the Trump administration?

Hey, Mitt’s a rich guy, too. He doesn’t need the money. Nor does he need to the embarrassment of representing Donald Trump’s world view to a world still reeling by the very thought of Trump becoming president of the greatest nation on Earth.

Doesn’t the next president recall what Mitt said in 2012 about Russia? I’ll remind him here. Mitt declared that Russia presented the “greatest global geopolitical threat” to the United States. Trump, meanwhile, is accepting high praise from Russian strongman/dictator/former spook Vladimir Putin. Which is it? Greatest threat or potential ally?

Frankly, Mitt’s assessment looks more accurate and prescient than anything Trump has said about Russia.

Then we have the nature of the criticism. The video I’ve attached to this blog post is quite revealing. It’s only 17 minutes long. But it’s a doozy.

Oh, and Trump’s response to it? He called Mitt a “loser” who “begged” Trump for his endorsement four years ago.

Say it won’t happen, Mitt. Tell us that you’re just stringing Trump along. While you’re at it, when you get him in that room in private at Trump Tower, please reiterate what you said about him on the campaign trail. It was all true then … and it’s true to this very day.

You’re better than this, Mitt.

Here’s the first and last question for next secretary of state


Reports indicate that if Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected president next week that she is ready to start vetting a short list of potential secretaries of state.

Vice President Joe Biden reportedly is at the top of that short list.

Biden served six terms in the U.S. Senate before being elected vice president in 2008. He retains many close personal friendships with his former Senate colleagues, given that as VP he served also as president of the Senate.

He’s also a first-cabin foreign policy expert.

So, what do you think would be the first question the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will ask when it begins its hearing to determine whether to confirm Biden — or anyone a President-elect Clinton would nominate?

“Do you intend to use a personal e-mail server to communicate with staffers while serving as the next secretary of state?”

I think I know the answer.


Paging Dick Cheney … hello?

Vice President Dick Cheney, speaks at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Thursday, April 10, 2008, in Washington. Bush administration officials from Vice President Dick Cheney on down signed off on using harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Is it me or does anyone else wonder what’s become of Dick Cheney?

The former vice president — from 2001 to 2009 — has been so very quick since leaving office to jump back into the political fray. He’s been critical of President Obama’s foreign policy, of Vice President Joe Biden, and oh yes, of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Well, the Republicans have their nominee. Donald J. Trump — who appears to be a classic Republican In Name Only — is now doing political battle with Democratic nominee Clinton.

But wait a sec, man? Cheney’s been nowhere.

I think I might have a clue. It’s because two of his former bosses, President George W. Bush and President George H.W. Bush — whom Cheney served as defense secretary — can’t stomach Trump’s candidacy. They despise the man for the way he’s run for the presidency, not to mention for the way he brutalized John Ellis “Jeb” Bush — W’s brother and Poppy’s son — during the 2016 GOP primary.

Whatever, the Bush family’s loathing of Trump seems to have silenced a loyal Bush guy.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I don’t necessarily want to hear from the former vice president. It’s not that I find his political world view all that appealing.

I guess I’m just miffed that Dick Cheney’s silence had robbed me of some material on which to respond.

‘Deep reservations’ about all-volunteer military


Secretary of State John Kerry has broached a subject that is sure to get many Americans riled up.

He said during a symposium about the Vietnam War that he has “deep reservations” about our nation’s reliance on an all-volunteer fighting force.

Is he calling for a return of the draft? No. He’s not going that far. Indeed, show me a politician who does so and I’ll show you a politician who’s likely on his or her way out of office.

But this man does know a few things about combat, about sacrifice and about shared responsibility.

He was a Navy officer during the Vietnam War. Kerry came from that war and became a leader in the effort end that conflict.


What was Kerry’s major point about his appearance at the LBJ School of Public Administration at the University of Texas-Austin? “Don’t confuse the war with the warrior.”

That, sadly, is what many Americans did as they lashed out at the policies that caused so much dissension here at home. The blamed the young Americans who were following lawful orders.

That terrible time helped contribute to the end of military conscription.

More than 40 years later, the nation has been fighting wars on multiple fronts with young men and women who have served multiple tours of duty. They serve, return home and then go back into the combat theater. Again and again they go.

Some of them pay the ultimate price during those redeployments.

Kerry has asked a pertinent question: Are enough Americans buying into our nation’s commitment to fighting this war against international terrorism?

Indeed, the all-volunteer force — while still the deadliest fighting force in the world — has put tremendous strain on the young Americans who keep answering the call to thrust themselves back into harm’s way.

Is it time to force more Americans to share in this fight?

Let’s have this discussion.


Who’s done most to earn presidency?


Now that the debate over which presidential candidates are “qualified” to assume the office if they get elected is more or less over, let’s turn to actual accomplishment.

Part of the qualification argument ought to include who among the five individuals running for the office have done something worthy of consideration. Do they have sufficient executive experience? Have they accomplished anything of substance legislatively? Does business experience matter?

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first.

The business experience is helpful in a limited way. Yep, that notion zeroes in on Donald J. Trump. However, as I’ve noted before — although not recently — government is not intended to be run “like a business.” Trump seems to equate everything to “cutting deals.” Treaty negotiation? “I’ll make the best deals imaginable,” he says. Working with Congress? Same thing. Trade agreements? “We’re losing everywhere; we won’t when I’m president,” he boasts.

Knock it off, Trump! You cannot do these things in a vacuum.

He’s got zero government experience. To borrow a phrase: Trump is a loser.

Government executive experience matters much more. Of the remaining candidates, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton qualify. I’d rate Kasich’s years as governor over Clinton’s as secretary of state. Kasich has had to manage a budget, deal with legislators, fight with constituents — sometimes all at once.

Clinton has managed a huge federal agency. She flew more miles to more countries than any previous secretary of state; I’m unsure where here successor, John Kerry, stands in that regard. She has sought to negotiate disputes between nations and, yes, has been caught up in controversy. But her time at State matters … a lot!

Legislative accomplishment?

Here’s where it’s kind of a runaway.

Clinton, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Bernie Sanders of Vermont all have congressional experience. None of them can boast of an accomplishment that measures up to Kasich’s time in the U.S. House of Reps.

I’m trying to figure out which major piece of legislation has any the names of Clinton, Cruz or Sanders. Cruz’s major “accomplishment” was to mount that idiotic filibuster in an effort to wipe out the Affordable Care Act. Sanders and Clinton can’t even “brag” about something so ridiculous.

Kasich, though, served as chairman of the House Budget Committee that played a major role in achieving a balanced federal budget in the 1990s. That is no small feat, given the toxic political climate at the time. The House was run by Republicans; the president, Bill Clinton, is a Democrat. The White House and Capitol Hill had different notions on how to achieve a balanced budget. They found common ground.

There, my friends, is where one candidate’s record shines.

Is it enough for Republicans to nominate him? Probably not. They’re going to haggle at their convention over whether to nominate two patently frightening “outsiders,” one of whom is the real thing (Trump), the other of whom (Cruz) keeps trashing the legislative body where he’s served since January 2013.

Sure, each of these people is technically “qualified” constitutionally to run for the office. And yes, that includes the Canadian-born-to-an-American-mother Cruz.

I still rate Clinton’s combined government experience — and I include her policy-making influence during her eight years as the nation’s first lady — as giving her a slight edge in the overall presidential qualification contest.

If only the Republican delegates this summer would come to their senses and deliver their party’s nomination to the remaining candidate, Gov. Kasich, who actually has something to show for his lengthy public service record. Then we could have a serious debate this fall on who to select as the nation’s next president.

If only …


Presumptive speaker, um, ‘speaks’ the truth

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., talks about the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, part of the House GOP energy agenda, Wednesday, June 6,2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The man presumed to be the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives managed quickly to reveal what many of us have suspected all along.

It is that the Benghazi committee formed by Speaker John Boehner was intended to torpedo the presidential campaign chances of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy the other day when he was talking about Clinton’s sagging poll standing. He “credited” her decline to the formation of the Benghazi panel and its continued investigation into the fire fight that resulted in 2012 in the deaths of four brave Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

GOP critics hit back at McCarthy

Some congressional Republicans aren’t happy with what McCarthy said. They have called his assertions inappropriate and have demanded that he apologize to Clinton for implying a partisan motive in forming the panel in the first place.

The attack was a terrible tragedy. Clinton has acknowledged it. Some in Congress, though, keep insisting that there was some sort of cover-up, a conspiracy, a calculated lie in reporting what happened that night at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Clinton has said there was no cover-up. That hasn’t suited the GOP investigators, who keep hammering at the issue.

Boehner is leaving the House at the end of the month. The House is expected to vote next week on a new speaker. It’s presumed that McCarthy will get the gavel.

Is this what we can expect from the new Man of the House, more partisan targeting?


Powell endorses Iran nuclear deal


In another era, an endorsement of a controversial foreign policy agreement by Colin Powell might carry some weight among other members of Powell’s political party.

It won’t this time. In fact, and you might have to wait for it, you well could hear someone suggest that Powell’s endorsement doesn’t matter at all because he endorsed Barack Obama’s two successful elections as president of the United States.

Does it matter, though, that the former secretary of state remains a loyal Republican? Oh … maybe. Then again, maybe not.

Powell said today on “Meet the Press”: “The great concern from the opposition is that we’re leaving open a lane for Iran to create a nuclear weapon in 10 to 15 years. The reality is that they have been on a super highway for the last 10 years to create a nuclear weapon … with no speed limit.”

He said he’s studied the deal in detail, pored over it thoroughly and has concluded that this agreement is better than what we had before, which was nothing.

The retired four-star U.S. Army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls the agreement brokered by the Obama administration a “pretty good deal.”

It’s not perfect, he said. But he’ll settle gladly for a diplomatic solution over a military one.

Given that he’s endured combat — serving two tours of duty as an infantry officer during the Vietnam War — I’ll accept his endorsement.

Clinton needs to steel herself over server

Hillary Rodham Clinton is getting the third, fourth and maybe the fifth degrees over this server business.

The Democrats’ presidential frontrunner is under fire over the way she handled e-mail communications while she was serving as secretary of state and her use of a personal e-mail server to conduct State Department business.

She cut off a press conference when the question kept coming about the server issue and whether she destroyed information that belongs to the public.

At one level, this continuing investigation has partisan politics written all over it. Republicans do not want her to become the 45th president of the United States; thus, it’s understandable that they would do whatever they can to deny her the office.

The e-mail controversy — and I refuse to call it a “scandal” — has given them a quiver full of ammo to fire at former secretary of state.

She said today she did everything that is prescribed by law and insisted she broke no laws.

On a human level, I understand her continuing frustration over the continuing coverage of this matter.

On another level, though, I want this matter settled. She has turned her server over to the Department of Justice. My hope is that Clinton will answer all the questions posed to her.

At some point it will have to become as obvious to the rest of the country — as it is to Clinton — that the investigations into the e-mail matter will produce zero criminal culpability.

Therefore, all the politicians involved in seeking to undermine her candidacy will realize they are doing more damage to themselves than they are to her.

First things first, though. Hillary Clinton needs to deliver all the goods about this e-mail business for thorough public inspection.