Tag Archives: Democratic primary

RFK’s widow weighs in: no parole for Sirhan

Does this now doom Sirhan Sirhan’s journey toward the door of the prison where he has been held for 53 years?

No, but it should.

Ethel Kennedy, the wife of the man Sirhan murdered on June 5, 1968, has said Sen. Robert Kennedy’s killer should not walk free. “Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man,” Kennedy, 93, said in a statement of Sirhan Sirhan. “We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in taming his act of violence, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again.”

A two-person parole board has recommended Sirhan be released. It’s far from a done deal. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has the authority to veto what the panel has recommended. A complete review of the parole recommendation could take months to complete.

Six of the Kennedys’ nine surviving children have spoken out against the recommendation to parole Sirhan. RFK Jr. and Douglas Kennedy have endorsed the parole recommendation. Now, though, their mother has said that Sirhan still poses too great a risk to society for him to walk free.

On a personal note, I still mourn RFK’s murder. I was able to shake his hand a week before he ventured into the hotel kitchen after winning the California Democratic primary. I was shaken to the core at his death and it still haunts me.

I do not mean to suggest that Robert Kennedy’s life means more than any other murder victim, but Sirhan Sirhan very well might have changed the course of U.S. political history by denying Americans the chance to decide whether RFK should become president of the United States in 1968.

Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, says Sirhan Sirhan ‘should not be paroled’ (msn.com)

Count me as one American who would not be disappointed in the least if Gov. Newsom decides to keep Sirhan B. Sirhan locked up … where he belongs.


Biden finishes selecting a Cabinet … but wait!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President-elect Joe Biden has finished his first key test of governing.

He has selected the men and women who will serve with him in the executive branch of the federal government he will lead beginning Jan. 20. I believe he has selected an impressive array of talented individuals to help him implement public policy on behalf of the people who have elected him.

But wait! There’s a name missing from the roster of Cabinet-level nominees I was sure I would see: Jim Clyburn.

You remember Rep. Clyburn, correct? Clyburn’s endorsement of then-Democratic candidate Biden prior to the South Carolina primary this past spring propelled Biden to an easy victory in that contest. Biden’s primary campaign had faltered in Iowa, in New Hampshire and in Nevada. Biden was given up as political road kill.

South Carolina — with its enormous African-American voting bloc — loomed just ahead. Biden told us he would win that primary. He needed help. U.S. Rep. Clyburn delivered it with his endorsement.

Biden won the Palmetto State and never looked back.

I was certain Jim Clyburn could have virtually any job in a Biden administration he would want. It might be that the president-elect asked him and Clyburn declined. It might be that Clyburn, one of the House of Representatives’ senior members, wanted to stay put and help guide President Biden’s legislative agenda through the House’s legislative labyrinth.

Surely, the president-elect with vast knowledge of the importance of political alliances would not simply pass over someone who in this political climate and in the context of the campaign that Joe Biden won personifies the definition of “kingmaker.”

I am pretty sure if nothing else that Joe and Jill Biden will put Rep. Clyburn on their Christmas card mailing list.

Why hasn’t Obama weighed in for Biden? Here’s why

Donald Trump chided Joe Biden this week, wondering out loud why Barack Obama hasn’t endorsed the former vice president who now wants to run against Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Well, Trump knows why, but I’ll offer my belief here.

President Obama has chosen to take the conventional route in presidential primaries. He didn’t want to enrage loyalists for other candidates still running by backing the man who served with him for eight years from 2009 until 2017.

The last candidate facing Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has bowed out. Now the road is clear for the former president to weigh in.

Earth to The Donald: There it is for you. Spelled out.

Trump, of course, doesn’t adhere to that playbook. He has weighed in repeatedly during Republican primaries in 2018 and again this year. Some of the endorsees have won, others have lost their primary fights. There’s been plenty of GOP backbiting after the votes have been counted, with Republicans arguing with each other over the impact that Trump’s endorsement might have brought to the result.

President Obama doesn’t want to get involved in that sort of intra-party squabbling.

It’s been a time-honored strategy.

I am pretty certain now that Joe Biden is the last man standing in the once-huge Democratic Party primary field that Barack Obama will cut loose.

It will be fun to watch.

Bernie faces the final stop on his valiant journey … perhaps

You know by now that my political prediction habit has been set aside because of poor past performance.

So, when I offer a possible scenario playing out I usually cover my posterior by saying that “I won’t be surprised” if such-and-such happens.

With all of that laid out there for you, I want to offer a brief look ahead at what I think could happen in the next bit of time as four more states conduct Democratic Party presidential primary elections on Tuesday.

Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona Democrats are voting for their party’s presidential nominee. Two main candidates are still standing: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Sen. Bernie Sanders; a third pretender remains, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. It’s down to Joe and Bernie.

What could happen Tuesday? Let’s try this: Biden scores huge victories in all four states and collects about 300 (give or take) more delegates to the national nominating convention. He builds a gigantic delegate lead over Sanders. He slams the door shut on Sanders’ path to the nomination and tosses the key into the drink. What does Sanders do?

In my mind, Bernie needs to then call a halt to his campaign. It was a valiant effort but there’s no way on God’s good Earth he gets the nomination. He concedes to his “good friend Joe,” and then endorses his candidacy, vowing to make good on what he said Sunday night at the debate he and Biden staged, that he will work to “defeat the most corrupt president in modern U.S. history,” Donald John Trump.

Biden and Sanders share a common goal, to boot Trump out of the Oval Office. If Sen. Sanders is a man of his word, and I believe that’s the case, then he will realize that with no path forward, any effort to continue is futile.

Does he extract some concessions from Biden? Sure. That’s what politics is all about. Dare I call it seeking a quid pro quo? Sanders could offer to leave the race and throw his support behind the victor, but only if the other guy, Biden, buys into some of the more progressive planks in his platform.

Will any of this happen? I certainly hope it does. I hope the party unifies behind the winner of the fight, gathers its wits about it and then goes straight after the man who never should have been elected to the presidency.

Debate to go on without crowd noise … good!

Here we go … former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are going to debate each other on Sunday.

It will be a precursor to what is looking more and more as if Biden will finish Bernie off when the ballots are counted the following Tuesday. Biden will win big in many of the states that are having Democratic presidential primary elections.

Here, though, is a bit of good news for those of us who are interested in this upcoming debate. It will be staged without an audience of faithful supporters. Yes, it’ll be just Joe and Bernie answering questions in a quiet and empty room standing or sitting before a panel of journalists/moderators. The coronavirus pandemic has mandated this move, which I happen to applaud.

This is good news for yours truly. Why? Because I have stated before on this blog my distaste for cheering, whooping and hollering at these joint appearances. They serve to distract us all from the issues being discussed. The candidates too often prepare laugh/applause/cheering lines aimed only at eliciting the kind of responses that move public opinion polling needs in their direction.

Sanders today seem to turn the debate into a sort of open-book test by previewing the questions he intends to ask Biden. He made his first public statements this morning after the drubbing he suffered at Biden’s hands Tuesday night. Fine. Let the debate go forward.

I look forward to seeing and hearing the two major finalists for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Moreover, I look even more forward to hearing them without the crowd noise that has become associated with these events.

Time to put the Democratic primary fight away

The chatter in the wake of Tuesday night’s stunning rebuke of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “revolution” is making it clear to me.

It’s likely time for Sen. Sanders to end this effort.

Why? You may count me as one American who wants to defeat Donald John Trump. So does Bernie. So does Joe Biden, to whom Sanders got hammered in four primary states, including the so-called “make or break” state of Michigan.

Biden cruised to a double-digit victory. What’s even more stunning is that Biden defeated Sanders in every one of Michigan’s counties. From inner city Wayne County to the Upper Peninsula of Gogebic County, they all went to Biden.

That result, if nothing else matters, ought to tell Sen. Sanders that his time has elapsed. It’s time for him to wrap it up, call it a campaign and then dedicate himself — alongside his “good friend Joe” — to defeating Donald Trump.

Yes, we have a debate coming up with Joe and Bernie. Just the two of ’em will share a stage. It might be that Sanders is hoping for a Biden blunder, that the former vice president will say something outrageous … as he is at times prone to do. My hope is that Joe Biden produces a studied, steady and sturdy debate performance to show he can withstand the pressure and turn back the adrenalin rush that at times clouds this veteran pol’s better instincts.

If he does that, and then blows Bernie out one more time, well … it’s over.

It’s looking like it’s all over for Bernie

I sorta thought that if the networks called Michigan as a Joe Biden win in that state’s Democratic Party presidential primary the moment the polls closed that it would spell curtains for Bernie Sanders’ candidacy.

The networks waited a while, but they called the state for the former vice president.

Hmm. It still seems to be the death knell for Sen. Sanders and his revolution/movement. Why? Well, the hill only get steeper for Bernie if he intends to capture more convention delegates than Joe.

Florida is coming up, along with Georgia. Biden will sweep Bernie in those two states. New York isn’t looking good for Sanders. Arizona well could go for Biden.

It doesn’t get any easier for Sanders to overtake Biden.

So the Vermont independent senator has to ponder the obvious: Is it worth the time, the effort and the money it will take to collect enough delegates to make a serious difference?

Sanders will fight for concessions in the Democratic Party platform, as if such things actually matter when the nominees trudge off to do battle with the other party’s candidate for president.

It’s looking to me and to many others that this nomination belongs to Biden. The two men will face off Sunday in a debate. Just the two of them will argue with each other.

Yes, I’m all in for Biden. I want him to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee. If he holds himself together in that joint appearance with Sanders and then buries him in the next round of primaries, well, then it’s time to turn out the lights.

Money can’t buy love … or votes?

Tom Steyer thought money could buy him a path to the White House.

He was mistaken. The billionaire folded up his campaign tent after the South Carolina votes were cast and he ended up with 11 percent of the total, several miles behind the lead piled up by Joe Biden.

What now? What lies ahead for the other billionaire in the Democratic Party presidential primary campaign, Michael Bloomberg, the ninth-richest person on Earth, who’s already spent a half-billion of his own dollars on this race?

He hopes to do well on Tuesday, aka Super Tuesday. Will he win any of the states where he’s been airing all those TV ads, such as in Texas? I doubt it.

Bloomberg ought to rethink this exercise in futility as well.

The former New York mayor entered the race vowing to defeat Donald J. Trump. The way I see it, the longer he is in the contest siphoning off votes that could go to another centrist who actually can beat DJT — Joe Biden — the more he helps Trump than hinders his path to re-election.

Bloomberg has crashed and burned at two debates. He doesn’t play well live and in person. He looks disinterested, annoyed and cannot craft anything resembling the kind of sharp rhetoric one needs to develop a message.

Furthermore, I just am one Democratic-leaning voter who doesn’t believe he is faithful to the party to which he purports to belong. He ran for NYC mayor as a Republican; then he became an independent; now he’s a Democrat. He’s good on gun issues and on climate change. What else? Who knows?

As for Bernie Sanders, I do not want a “movement” leader or a “revolutionary” to carry the banner against Donald Trump. I much prefer a seasoned, veteran politician with a record of actual accomplishment to take the fight to the carnival barker in chief.

To my way of thinking, that would be Joe Biden.

We need to cull this field down immediately to the two men left standing: Biden and Bernie. Let pragmatism prevail over passion.

I guess endorsements do matter

It must be that some voters actually heed politicians’ endorsements of other politicians.

So it appears as the votes roll in from South Carolina polling stations. Former Vice President Joe Biden is piling up a huge victory in that state, thanks it appears in large part to an endorsement delivered Wednesday by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, the most powerful African American in Congress and an esteemed political icon in his home state of South Carolina

Now, what does it mean for the rest of the Democratic Party primary race for the presidential nomination? I am unable to predict how it shakes out.

Here’s my sincere hope.

It is that Joe Biden can wrest the momentum away from Sen. Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner at this moment for the Democratic nomination. I do not want a far-left ideologue to run against Donald John Trump, the current president of the United States.

I want instead for Democrats to nominate a seasoned political pro, someone with mileage on his wheels, someone who can work across the political aisle. Joe Biden is that individual.

There. I’ve said yet again that Biden is my No. 1 choice. He is in the hunt as the primary parade heads to Texas and the other Super Tuesday states next week.

I remain committed to defeating Donald Trump. My desire hasn’t wavered a single bit since the moment this carnival barker declared his candidacy in June 2015. I intend to use this blog to the extent that I am able to advance that cause.

As the political junkies among us watch the results from South Carolina roll in, I am hopeful that Democrats are going to avoid driving off a cliff by nominating someone who I believe stands a frightening chance of losing to a president who never should have been elected.

This guy has it right: All but Biden and Bernie need to bail out

Timothy Egan is a fabulous reporter and writer. I am in the middle of a book he wrote about the Dust Bowl, “The Worst Hard Time.” It’s a great read that captures the essence of the Texas Panhandle, where I lived for 23 years.

He also is an astute political observer. He has written in The New York Times that the Democratic Party primary field needs to cull itself now, get down to the two leading candidates: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

The rest of ’em need to go: Tom Steyer, Mike Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg … and maybe even Elizabeth Warren.

Egan thinks there’s a good chance Warren will lose to Sanders in her home state of Massachusetts, which votes on Super Tuesday. Hmm. If she can’t win there, well, where else is there?

Read Egan’s essay here.

If I were king of the world, I would strongly prefer Biden over Bernie.

My sense is that the country needs to return to an old fashioned politician — and I mean that in the good way — who knows how to govern. Someone who knows the importance of compromise. We don’t need another “revolutionary,” which is how Sanders portrays himself and his legions of supporters.

Yes, I know that both of these guys are old. They’re both pushing 80. I am not all that far behind them on the road to eternity, so I can kinda/sorta relate to them.

The country, though, needs Joe Biden to restore some values of decency, decorum, dignity to the White House. I have had enough of Donald Trump. As for the rest of the Democratic Party field, heed Timothy Egan’s advice … and stand down.