Tag Archives: DNC

Melania channels Michelle? Oops!


When journalists copy material and pass it off as their original reporting, well, they get into a lot of trouble.

Same for, say, doctoral students who write theses to earn their university degrees. No can do.

Politicians, too, can get themselves into trouble when the swipe others’ profound thoughts and present them as their own brilliant rhetoric. Isn’t that right, Vice President Joe Biden?

Now, do politicians’ spouses face the same scrutiny? Must they endure the ridicule that comes to journalists and pols?

Melania Trump delivered a speech last night at the Republican National Convention that some dialed-in watchers thought they’d heard before. Turns out a good bit of Trump’s comments originated from another well-known political spouse, one Michelle Obama.

Melania channeling Michelle? Who’d have thunk that?

This link contains some fascinating evidence of plagiarism. Check out the bold-faced type references in both women’s speeches.


Trump’s speech — I listened to most of it Monday night — contained a passage about growing up in Slovenia and mentioned the values imbued in her by her parents. Someone out here in TV Land remembered Obama making strikingly similar references when she spoke at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver.

There were other passages that seemed quite similar in character.

Vice President Biden ran for president a couple of times before getting the call to run with Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. The first time was in 1988. Then-Sen. Biden’s campaign flew into the ditch when it was revealed that he copied extended passages from an earlier speech delivered by Neil Kinnock, who was a British Labor Party leader.

News networks played the two men’s speeches side by side. The ridicule was loud and sustained. It’s interesting to me as well that much of what Biden lifted from Kinnock’s speech also had to do with personal history, upbringing and values.

Biden pulled out of the Democratic Party primary race and skulked back into the Senate cloakroom shadows … at least briefly.

Melania Trump has said she wrote the speech she delivered last night with “as little help” as possible.

Hmmm. Really?

Suffice to say she seems to have needed some help with this one — and now she’ll need help explaining what appears to be so painfully obvious.

Bernie’s out … but not entirely


Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is over.

He won’t be nominated at the party convention in Philadelphia. Hillary Rodham Clinton will get the nod and will march off to campaign against Republican nominee, who at this moment appears to be Donald J. Trump.

But …

Why does Sen. Sanders still have all those Secret Service agents shadowing him as he returns to work in the U.S. Senate?


I get that the Secret Service protection won’t break the federal bank. It does seem a bit “lavish,” though, for him to continue to have the protection.

Sure, he’s entitled to it. President Lyndon Johnson issued an executive order back in 1968 that provides this protection for presidential candidates. He acted in the wake of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s murder in Los Angeles on the night he won the California Democratic primary.

Sanders has sought to portray himself as a common man, someone who eschews big-money speaking fees.

But the presence of the Secret Service and all the bells and whistles the protection brings tells a bit of a different story.

According to the Washington Post: “There’s no denying that some of the accoutrements that come with campaigns can be intoxicating,” said Jim Manley, a longtime Democratic operative who is supporting Clinton.

Sanders won’t “suspend” his campaign because he still wants to have a say at the party convention this summer. I understand the reason for his staying in … even though his candidacy has been reduced to symbolism.

Does he still need the Secret Service protection? Really?

I think not.

It’s over, Sen. Sanders.

Trump facing lukewarm — at best — nomination cheer


Let’s play out the rest of the Republican Party’s presidential nominating process.

Donald J. Trump will receive his party’s nomination in Cleveland in just a few weeks.

GOP moguls will try and fail to wrestle the nomination away from Trump, who defeated 16 primary opponents. He scored a record number of GOP primary votes while marching to his party’s nomination.

Then, on the Thursday night of the convention, after the balloting has been completed and the RNC convention chairman, House Speaker Paul Ryan, says through gritted teeth that Donald Trump is the party’s presidential nominee.

Someone will introduce him to the crowd.

Trump will stride onto the stage.

What kind of reception is he going to get? The norm is for political convention delegates to deliver throaty cheers. They cheer, whoop and holler, wave their signs, whistle, blow horns, laugh and weep tears of joy.

That’s the norm.

This primary season has been everything but normal.

Trump will be a badly damaged nominee. He won’t enjoy the support of many hundreds of delegates spread out before him on the convention floor. Those delegates who wanted someone else nominated will serve as a metaphor for the voting public across the land.

I was struck by the stinging critique in this week’s New Yorker by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, who writes:

The current leadership of the Republican Party and most of its traditional funders show every sign of knowing that a pernicious buffoon has become their standard-bearer. And yet they have largely fallen into line. They dare not betray “the wisdom of their voters.” There’s Orrin Hatch, of Utah, with his reputation for integrity, telling his constituents that Trump “doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body.” There’s Paul Ryan, the self-advertised model of Republican probity and deep thinking, allowing that, yes, Trump is guilty of “textbook” racism, but refusing to edge away from his squeamish endorsement. And there is Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, providing this piece of moral discernment: “Well, what I am willing to say is that Donald Trump is certainly a different kind of candidate.” McConnell has hinted that he could rescind his support, but what are the odds?

Here’s the entire essay:


It’s all coming together at the GOP convention in Cleveland.

I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see how the nominee’s acceptance speech is received by the actual Republicans who will have sent him into battle against Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democrats.

Here’s a ‘Dave’-like solution to picking nominees


In the film “Dave,” Kevin Klein portrays the owner of an employment agency who bears this startling resemblance to the president of the United States.

Fate thrusts Dave into the role of filling in for the incapacitated president.

During a Cabinet meeting, the “president” — Dave — must find ways to cut the federal budget sufficiently to pay for some needed programs. He whips out a pencil and tablet and goes through the budget department by department and — presto! — finds the money.

Cabinet officials are stunned.

How might such a seemingly simple approach to problem-solving work in the real world of rough-and-tumble politics?

News organizations Monday night tallied up the delegates that Hillary Rodham Clinton has amassed and declared her to be the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States. She joins Donald J. Trump, who already had become the Republicans’ presumed nominee.

Here, though, is the rub. Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t going quietly into the night. He vows to continue fighting Clinton for delegates all the way to the party nominating convention.

Why? He doesn’t like the “super delegate” system used by the Democratic Party. The supers are those party big wheels — elected officials, mostly — who get to vote for whomever they wish. Sanders, who only recently joined the party after serving in the Senate as an independent, thinks it’s unfair to count those super delegates prior to the convention. They can change their minds and he intends to persuade enough of them to do exactly that.

The Republicans don’t have that problem. They don’t have super delegates. Frankly, I prefer the GOP method.

What might Dave do?

Let’s try this out.

Call a meeting of the two major political parties’ top brass, GOP boss Reince Priebus and Democratic chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Put them in a room along with their parties’ lawyers and pose the question, “How about making this process a bit more uniform?”

Priebus and Schultz aren’t close. Imagine that, right? They have serious disagreements.

It seems totally within reason, though, for the parties to adopt more uniform delegate-selection processes. To be frank, the super delegate system used by the Democrats seems a bit weird. Sanders is hoping to change enough minds between now and the convention that he could “steal” the nomination from Clinton. I think that, by itself, is unfair and underhanded.

If both parties’ leaders believe in developing fair and even-handed methods of choosing their nominees, is it too much to ask them to hammer out an agreement that works for both sides?

I get that none of this nominating process is prescribed in the U.S. Constitution. It’s strictly a party matter. Heck, the Constitution doesn’t even mention political parties.

I’d even prefer to see the national parties lay down rules simplifying the method of apportioning delegates. Do they prefer to award them on the basis of the candidates’ share of the popular vote? How about winner take all? It makes no never mind to me. Just make it uniform.

The hodge-podge we have now makes me crazy.

Politics need not be this complicated, man.

Bernie turns mean against Hillary


What in the world has gotten into U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders?

The kind old gentleman has turned into a grouchy curmudgeon as he seeks to forestall Hillary Clinton’s march to the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Sanders lit into Clinton at a Brooklyn, N.Y., rally over the weekend, firing up an already-raucous crowd.

Isn’t this the fellow who said he was “tired of hearing about your damn e-mails” during an earlier Democratic debate with Clinton? Isn’t this the man who pledged to keep his campaign positive?

It ain’t happening these days, I’ll tell you.

He’s teeing off on Clinton’s acceptance of big money from “corporate special interests” which, he says, have corrupted the electoral system. He’s questioning her “judgment” in voting to approve funds for the Iraq War. He’s labeling her a tool of the super PACs that have lined up behind her candidacy.


I’m sure it gives Sanders a rush to hear all the cheering, whoopin’ and hollerin’ from the crowds that come to hear his message.

It also seems to smack a bit of desperation from someone who needs to win Tuesday’s New York primary if he is going to remain a serious challenger to the Clinton juggernaut.

If he doesn’t win the primary, they might start blinking the “last call” lights on Sanders’ campaign.

I’ll say this about Sanders: He’s managed to dictate the terms of the Democratic primary debate. To that end, he’s scored a sufficient victory already.

This extreme negativity, though, is unbecoming from someone who once sought to stay on the high road.


Let’s allow Dems to face media grilling


All this talk over the past few days about the alleged mistreatment of the Republican Party presidential candidates by the “mainstream liberal media” brings something to mind.

Let’s suppose as we travel down the primary campaign road that the Democratic field — or what’s left of it — decides to debate among themselves in a nationally televised event.

What might happen if the moderators all  turned out to conservative-leaning journalists? Believe me, there are plenty of them to go around.

Imagine a panel comprising, say, Britt Hume, Jennifer Rubin and Byron York grilling the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders.

Hume is a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday; Rubin is a conservative columnist for the Washington Post; Byron York is a long-time conservative columnist whose work is syndicated in papers across the country.

They’re all smart and savvy political hands.

I’m trying to imagine how the Democratic National Committee might react to the tough line of questioning that such a panel would bring to a Democratic candidates debate.

I’m not sure the DNC would allow such a panel to present questions to their candidates. Yet the Republican National Committee signed off on the recent CNBC-sponsored debate and the moderators chosen by the network to quiz the candidates on the debate stage.

Still, there’s a part of me that wishes the DNC would agree to such an event, with that party’s candidates facing sure-fire relentless questioning on a whole array of issues facing the nation.

I know it won’t happen. But I can dream … can’t I?


Nixon could have squashed scandal … easily

Forty-three years ago today, President Nixon missed an opportunity to squash what had been termed a “third-rate burglary.” All he had to do was deliver a brief speech on national television that went something like this:

My fellow Americans. Good evening.

By now you’ve heard about the break-in at the Watergate office complex and hotel in Washington, D.C. Several burglars were apprehended by the D.C. police and arrested and charged with breaking and entering. 

You also have heard that the men apparently were working at the behest of the Committee to Re-Elect the President. They broke into the Democratic National Committee offices and allegedly rifled through some files, looking for papers relevant to the Democrats’ campaign they intend to launch against me this fall.

I called DNC Chairman Larry O’Brien and expressed my deepest regret for this intrusion into the Democratic Party’s office.

It doesn’t stop there. Today, I fired the head of the Committee to Re-Elect the President and his senior staff. I informed all of them that this kind of chicanery will not be tolerated by me, my closest advisers, and anyone associated with my re-election campaign.

Accordingly, I have instructed the attorney general, the director of the FBI and have asked local police to do all they can to get to the bottom of this caper and to ensure that anyone caught is brought to justice as quickly as possible.

I want to apologize as well to the American people for this shameful criminal act.

Thank you and good night.

That event didn’t happen on June 17, 1972. What did happen is that President Nixon launched the Mother of All Cover-Ups. He instructed the FBI to stonewall the investigation into what happened. He told his senior White House staff to do all it could to block any and all inquiries.

He abused the office to which he had been elected and was about to be re-elected later that year in historic fashion.

Contemporary politicians today keep yapping about the “lawlessness” of the current administration. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is among those who toss around the “lawless” label a bit too carelessly.

Back when young Teddy was in diapers, the Nixon administration set the standard for lawlessness that hasn’t been met since. If he wants to see how an administration can flout federal law, he need look no further than what the Nixon administration did in the name of the man at the top.

So … there you have it.

The Watergate break-in occurred 43 years ago. It could have been put aside and relegated to the kind of story it was in the beginning: a minor cop story covered by the Metro desk of the Washington Post. Then two young reporters — Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward — began smelling a rat.

They found it — in the Oval Office.



Yes, Dr. Dean, they're 'Muslim terrorists'

Howard Dean is a smart guy: a physician, former Vermont governor, former Democratic National Committee chairman and former presidential candidate.

I do not think, though, he’s entirely correct in declaring that the terrorists who commit heinous acts in the name of Islam are not Muslims. They are.


He was talking this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” talk show and said the monsters who killed those 12 people in Paris this week are “as Muslim as I am.”

I get his point, though. He’s trying to separate the madmen who commit these acts from the mainstream members of one of the world’s great religions. And yes, Islam is a great religion, with more than 1 billion adherents around the world.

Not for a single second do I equate terrorism with mainstream Muslims. The Muslims I have known over many years are as decent, kind, compassionate, caring and “normal” as anyone else I’ve ever known.

Are there Muslims who pervert the religion’s holy word as written in the Quran? Of course they do. The perverts flew those planes into the Twin Towers and into the Pentagon on 9/11. They’ve blown themselves up along with innocent civilians in the years since that terrible day. They’ve committed atrocities and they’ve beheaded journalists and aid workers.

They are Muslims.

Some have argued, as Dr. Dean has done, that the terrorist monsters have forsaken their religion. Thus, they do not deserve to be called Muslim. I’ll choose to differ — if only a little.

I’ll continue to refer to the Islamic State terrorists as belonging to a cult. Their roots, though, come from Islam. They’ve just gone far past what their holy book preaches to them.

I hope Dr. Dean’s words aren’t used to confuse the nature of this conflict in which we are engaged. I have no confusion at all. We’re fighting Muslims who now believe in some distorted view of their religion.


GOP needs money, but not this way

William McKenzie’s blog, which is attached here, takes the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee to task for what only can be described as a crass money-grab.


Former President George W. Bush received a heart stent this week. The RCCC sent out letters to supporters asking them to send President Bush a get well message. But when they responded with the good wishes, they are sent to a site that asks them to kick in some cash for the RCCC; the amounts run from $5 to $250.

Here is part of what McKenzie wrote:

“Now, I get that political parties have to raise money. I spent a decade helping raise money for a moderate Republican organization in D.C., so I am not averse to fundraising.

“But was there no one within the bowels of the House GOP’s fundraising operation who counseled that this may be just a bit unseemly? I mean, here’s a former Republican president who is recovering from a heart procedure and, whoosh, out comes a fundraising plea. The man was not out of Presbyterian Hospital until this morning but the fundraising gears evidently were clicking.

“I don’t doubt that Bush would like to see his party thrive financially. And I have no idea what he thinks about the letter. But it strikes me as a prime example of how far we’ve come in the gamesmanship of politics.”

You go, Bill.

And get well, Mr. President.

RNC concern for fairness: real or contrived?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has issued a stern warning to NBC and CNN: Don’t air films about Hillary Rodham Clinton to avoid being shut out of Republican presidential debates during the 2016 election season.


I can’t pretend to know what’s in anyone’s heart, but Priebus says showing such a film would create an unfair advantage for the former first lady/senator/secretary of state were she to run against a Democratic Party primary field. Oh, he also mentions the advantage she’d have against the Republican nominee in the fall campaign, were she to be nominated by the Democrats.

“This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate,” Priebus wrote. “I find this disturbing and disappointing.”

You know what? I think he might have a point. I wonder, though, about the wisdom of cutting the networks out of the debate process by showing the film. CNN is planning a feature-length film about HRC’s public service career; NBC is planning to air a four-part miniseries.

A couple of questions need fleshing out, however. Will these films look at the bad along with the good? No one in the know is saying how HRC will be portrayed. The best option would be characterize her in a neutral light — which wouldn’t be nearly good enough for those on the right who despise her so deeply. It might not be good enough, either, for those on the left who support her so ardently.

Make no mistake that Hillary Clinton is a compelling public figure. Still, it’s not yet been determined whether she’s actually going to run for president in 2016. Everyone with an opinion on the matter seems to think she is a shoo-in to seek the White House one final time.

Stranger things than a surprise announcement to the contrary, though, can and have happened.

Stay tuned.