Tag Archives: Democrats

Beto has a shot?

You know, there once was a time — not many weeks ago — that I considered Greg Abbott a shoo-in for re-election as Texas governor.

That Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke didn’t have a Democrat’s chance in blazing hell of defeating the Republican incumbent.

Today? I am not so sure about that gloomy forecast.

Am I going to predict a Beto O’Rourke victory this November, breaking the GOP vise-grip on statewide elected office, ending the Republican dynasty at the top of the Texas political food chain?

Not … on … your … life!

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

However, I am going to suggest that the Abbott-O’Rourke contest well might become one of those races that the national media will be watching with intense interest.

This won’t surprise any readers of this blog, but my fervent hope is that O’Rourke defeats Abbott. The governor has become show horse, a guy who wants to elevate his personal political profile with an eye toward seeking the White House in 2024. Abbott’s idiotic pledge to send “illegal immigrants” to Washington, D.C., to hand the problem to the feds is an example of a politician looking to make headlines without offering the hint of a solution.

He doesn’t have a solution. Abbott has no interest in working with Democrats or seeking cooperation from President Biden.

I have no clue about how O’Rourke might handle this matter were he elected governor. I feel confident, though, in suggesting that O’Rourke, who hails from El Paso, knows plenty about border issues and he does not favor an “open border” policy.

Nor do I believe that O’Rourke is going to single-handedly disarm Texans by stripping us of our firearms. He knows better than to mess with the Constitution! That won’t stop Abbott and his cabal of demagogues from portraying O’Rourke as a soft-on-crime liberal.

I want this race to remain competitive. I want O’Rourke to make Abbott answer for the way the state handled the 2021 winter freeze. I want O’Rourke to offer a reasonable alternative to the Abbott posturing in the face of crisis after crisis.

What’s more, I want O’Rourke to tell Texans how he plans to govern and how he intends to end the state’s war against its gay residents, how he intends to make voting easier, not harder, for Texas.

And I want Beto O’Rourke to remain firm against the attacks that are sure to come from Greg Abbott.


World has flipped

What in the name of political sanity has happened to this old world of ours? I mean, we have Republicans and conservative media voices speaking fondly of a Russian dictator while Democrats and more progressive media voices are yelling loudly to get tough with the strongman.

There once was a time when the roles were reversed. No longer, folks.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has positioned his forces to invade Ukraine. A former GOP president has declared Putin to be a “genius” for the way he is preparing for the bloodbath. The current Democratic president is vowing punishing sanctions on Russia if Putin goes through with what the whole world believes he will do.

I remember the age of the Evil Empire that became the target of scorn and anger from Republicans in Congress and the president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Democrats were seen as being squishy on the communists.

Now it’s the Democrats who are staking out tough-guy positions against the Soviet descendants and Republicans are questioning why the president is all fired up about seeking to stop the Russian advance on Ukraine.

What the … ?

I can’t figure this out, other than linking all of this to the arrival of The Donald on our political scene. He cozied up to the strongman and actually denigrated our intelligence network’s assertion that Russia interfered in our 2016 election.

Hmm. Therein might be Donald’s enduring legacy. He has helped flip the political calculus totally on its ear. Frankly, I prefer the side that remains angry with Putin and the Russians.


Biden down, far from out

Listen up, Joe Biden haters. The president is down, to be sure. Do not, though, start ringing the death knell over the presidency of the man who fought for more than 30 years to attain the highest office in the land.

I acknowledge fully that President Biden has endured a rough first year. Let me remind everyone of a couple of recent historical events.

Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 and also had a bad first year. Yes, he was shot and nearly killed three months into the presidency. Then the Republican Party got drubbed in the 1982 midterm election. President Reagan, though, got re-elected in 1984 in a smashing 49-state landslide. That’s one.

Bill Clinton became president in 1993. He, too, suffered a rough first year. Republicans seized control of Congress in 1994. Ah, but then President Clinton cruised to re-election in 1996. That’s two.

Barack Obama assumed office in 2009. He set out to pass the Affordable Care Act; Congress obliged. Then Democrats got what Obama described as a “shellacking” in the 2010 midterm election. President Obama then went on to win re-election in 2012.

I know we have had plenty of one-term presidents who never got it together. George H.W. Bush fell from a 90% approval rating to losing his re-election effort in 1992; Jimmy Carter endured inflation and a general feeling of disgust and lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan in 1980; Donald Trump … well, you know what happened there.

President Biden is only in the “first quarter” of a long game, writes Paul Brandus in USA Today. There’s a way out of the morass, Brandus writes: The president’s biggest mistake has surprised me. He hasn’t spent enough time talking up last year’s economic achievements. “America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years,” Bloomberg reported last month, “notwithstanding the contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion.”

Joe Biden has had a rocky year in office. But, folks, this is only the first quarter. (yahoo.com)

And so it might go moving ahead into the next year and the year after that. We still have that pandemic. It still is making people sick. We keep hearing that the end is in sight. Maybe. We hope.

I am going to stand with the president as he keeps fighting for the country.


Arizona Dems censure Sinema … now what?

Will Rogers, the late Oklahoma humorist, once famously declared that he didn’t belong “to an organized political party; I’m a Democrat.”

Ahh, yes. The Democratic Party is returning to form. It has censured U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona because she refuses to be faithful to other congressional Democrats’ desire to change the rules regarding the filibuster and she won’t endorse President Biden’s domestic spending agenda.

I get that Arizona Democrats are angry at Sinema. A censure, though, doesn’t mean all much. I suppose it means that the Democratic Party will do nothing to help her win re-election. It might even look for someone to run against her in the primary.

It’s probably an appropriate sanction for a party to enact against a politician from within its ranks. It is unlike the censure that Congress delivered to another Arizonan, GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, for posting a social media rant that purport him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Gosar should have been tossed out of the House.

Still, Democrats historically have been known for this kind of intraparty squabbling. Look back at 1972, when it sought to haggle through a presidential nominating convention that eventually nominated Sen. George McGovern, who then delivered his acceptance speech at 3 a.m. Sheesh!

Sen. Sinema is getting what she deserves.


Two parties morph into four

It occurred to my wife and me today as we were looking at the growing clutter of political campaign signs springing up in North Texas that we no longer have just “two political parties.”

Yeah, we still have Democrats and Republicans. The two parties have morphed into four of them. Or at least two of them have become variations of the formal parties.

We have Democrats, Republicans … and progressives and (for lack of a better description) Donald Trump cultists.

To be clear, we don’t see many Democrats in North Texas bellowing their “progressive” credentials, given that there are few progressives among the rank-and-file voters. We do see on the other side a good number of Republicans advertising their “conservative” leanings. Collin County Judge Chris Hill, for instance, calls himself a “Texas conservative.”

Still, as I look at the bigger picture, I perceive an expanding of the two-party base, that the political battlefield is sprinkled with “troops” from the progressive and conservative wings within both major political parties.

For those who wish we could expand our political lineup beyond just Democrat and Republican, they might be getting their wish.



Dole draws tributes from both sides

I am gratified to read the tributes that are pouring in from both sides of the great divide in Washington to honor the life and service of a genuine American hero.

Indeed, “hero” is a word we are hearing in the wake of Robert Dole’s death today at age 98.

Dole was a longtime Republican Senate stalwart, a man who knew how to work across the aisle. He built friendships that transcended whatever political differences he had with his colleagues.

To hear Democratic politicians praise Dole’s service to the country, starting with his combat service during World War II, gives me hope that we might be able someday to bridge the chasm that has turned mere political opponents into enemies.

Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: ‘Bona fide American hero’ | TheHill

Our current lawmakers can take a page from the example that former Sen. Bob Dole set during his long, productive and profoundly distinguished life.


Despise the separation between the parties

One of the many things I detest about the state of the contemporary political climate in Texas is the absence of a sense of statewide camaraderie among the state’s congressional delegation.

There once was a time, back when Fort Worth’s Jim Wright was speaker of the U.S. House, when the entire Texas delegation would meet for breakfast each week. Democrats and Republicans would gather to discuss issues common to everyone within the delegation. They sought a meeting of their collective minds on ways to solve Texas problems.

My own congressman at the time, the late Democrat Jack Brooks, spoke fondly — if that’s a word I could use to describe anything that came from that cantankerous politician’s mouth — of the fellowship the delegation would enjoy.

I remember a story I read in Congressional Quarterly about those meetings and how they contrasted with the bitterness that existed between Democrats and Republicans in the California delegation. The Texans sought common ground. Californians drifted apart, firing rhetorical sniper shots at each other.

The Texas delegation no longer meets regularly, as I understand it. Democrats and Republicans are at each other’s throats most of the time. It’s a common affliction most if not all state delegations in Congress. I’m trying to imagine ultraconservative Louie Gohmert sitting next to ultraliberal Lloyd Doggett hashing out a legislative solution to anything.

I hear that my own House member, Republican Van Taylor of Plano, works well with Democrats. He has sponsored bipartisan legislation and actually counts Democrats among his friends in Washington. That, I dare say, is a commendable thing to have happen. I attribute that to his combat experience in the Middle East while serving in the Marine Corps. Everyone becomes your best friend when you’re receiving enemy fire and you depend on the guy next to you … who likewise is depending on you to have his back.

There needs to be much more of that and much less of the sniping, backbiting, name-calling and actual threats of violence about which we hear these days.


Did POTUS take a beating?

Let’s flash back for a moment about 30 years to the presidency of George H.W. Bush.

Going back that far, every new president suffered political setbacks in Virginia and New Jersey, meaning that the governors races in those states went to the winner from the opposing party.

Bush 41, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all suffered those embarrassments.

Joe Biden on Tuesday only suffered half of it. Virginia went from Democrat to Republican. New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, managed to win re-election.

Now, does this lessen the impact of this bellwether election? Is President Biden’s agenda now in the clear? Hardly.

It’s just that the president somehow managed to avoid the embarrassment that befell his five predecessors who saw the governorships in those key states flip from their own party to the party on the other side.

It’s complicated. Yes?


Both sides need to talk … to each other

Fairness dictates that I make this complaint of Democratic politicians just as I did of Republican politicians during the previous presidential administration.

I want Democrats to talk to Republicans and I am terribly distressed that they aren’t reaching to the other side of the great divide.

Think back to the term of Donald J. Trump. The Republican president chose to speak only to fellow Rs on Capitol Hill. He allowed the GOP caucus to craft that tax cut bill that favored rich folks. Democrats wanted no part of the deal. The then-POTUS didn’t reach out to them. He stiffed ’em!

That guy is gone. The new president, Joe Biden, has resorted to talking mainly to Democrats on his Build Back Better agenda. Indeed, GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has made his point clear: Ain’t no way the Republicans are going to support anything that comes from a Democratic president. President Biden figures: What the hell is the point in talking to them?

Well, I believe he should. Just as I believe that his predecessor should have talked to Democrats in search of common ground.

I have spoken of late about “good government.” This is how government ought to work. Compromise is not a four-letter word.


Yearning for GOP return

Am I allowed to declare that I am yearning for a significant political revolution?

I am going to do so anyway. I want the Republican Party to return to what it used to be: a party based on principle and ideology, not one that is fused to the personality of a cult leader who threatens real Republicans with retribution if they don’t profess blind loyalty to him.

Let’s stipulate something up front. I have no intention of endorsing whatever ideology a newly reborn Republican Party endorses. I remain a proud member of what I prefer to call the “good government progressive movement.” My politics tilt left, but I am not above endorsing compromise when and where it serves the greatest good.

The GOP today doesn’t adhere to the good government notion of anything. It is wedded to this nut job who occupied the presidency for a single term before he got drummed out of office by President Biden.

Why lament the absence of a real, honest-to-goodness Republican Party? Because I long have favored a strong two-party system that keeps both major parties alert. We don’t have that kind of political process at work at this moment. We have one party of ideas — the Democrats — doing battle with a cult following that operates under the Republican Party banner.

For starters, I now shall declare (for the umpteenth time) my intense desire for the leader of that cult — the aforementioned single-term, twice-impeached POTUS — to be kicked off the political stage.

Then we might see a return to some sort of political debate over ideas. Let the two parties argue without fear of being defamed, denigrated and defiled by a former POTUS who — if he had any sense of decency — would acknowledge that he lost the 2020 election … and then disappear.