Tag Archives: George W. Bush

DACA may be victim of surge

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This surge of underage migrants coming across our southern border might produce a casualty that many of us don’t want to see occur.

That casualty well could be a push toward comprehensive immigration reform.

Republicans are suing President Biden over what they contend is a failed immigration policy. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants the Biden team to do more to prevent this surge in undocumented, unaccompanied children coming into Texas. Everyone is focused on the crisis of the moment.

My fear is that the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals — aka DACA — is going to get caught up in the sausage grinder of recrimination. DACA is an act restored by President Biden that allows those who were brought here illegally as children by their parents to remain as U.S. residents. Biden wants to give them a faster track toward legal residency or citizenship.

DACA is part of a comprehensive immigration reform effort that was thought essential by President Bush, a Republican and by President Obama, a Democrat. Donald Trump wasn’t interested in reforming the immigration protocol, other than to deport all illegal immigrants immediately back to their country of origin.

That included DACA recipients, who were here because their parents brought them here when they were youngsters. They grew up in the United States, they have paid their taxes, many of them have excelled academically, professionally and have raised their families here.

DACA might be on the bubble as the nation struggles with this surge and as President Biden tries to find firm footing on which to move the administration forward.

I don’t want to see DACA disappear again.

Waiting for library to reopen

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

George W. Bush ran five times for public office.

Twice for Texas governor in 1994 and 1998. Twice for president of the United States in 2000 and 2004. I voted for his opponents every time. I hadn’t moved to Texas yet when Bush ran in 1978 for a West Texas seat in Congress, which he lost. There, I got that out of the way.

Still, I am saddened to read that the George W. Bush Presidential¬†Library and Museum is still “temporarily closed.” The damn COVID-19 virus has shuttered the doors of the library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

My wife and I moved to Collin County in 2018, which puts us within a brief drive to W’s library in Big D. I have been there three times already and I had planned on taking a family member who’s coming to visit at the end of next week.

I want to mention this because I have grown more respectful of the former president as time has moved on. He looks quite good to me these days, given the most recent Republican president with whom the nation has contended for the past four years. Plus, President Bush was among the first prominent GOP politicians to recognize publicly the election of President Biden in 2020, calling him an honorable and decent man. Indeed, the men did work well together when Bush was president and Biden was a U.S. Senate icon.

Moreover, it was the Bush White House team that worked so seamlessly after the 2008 election to ensure a smooth transition to an administration led by Barack Obama and, oh yeah, Joe Biden.

I am left now to hope for a reopening of the library, which I find quite compelling whenever I visit it.

Lift the Muslim ban, Mr. POTUS-elect

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

On the night he declared victory in the 2020 presidential election, Joseph Biden’s team announced plans for the new president to sign a series of executive orders on Day One of his administration.

One of them would be to life a ban on entry into the United States by travelers from certain Muslim-majority nations. Donald Trump issued that order early in his presidential term.

The new president wants to revoke that order.¬†To which I say … yes!

FBI Director Christopher Wray has told us a stark truth about the nature of terrorist threats to this country. It is that the biggest threat comes from home-grown, corn-fed white supremacists and not from Muslim nations.

The new president realizes what the nation’s top cop, the FBI director, has asserted.

I don’t mean to suggest that this nation’s security team should just shrug and look the other way at any terrorist threat that comes from abroad. I do mean to suggest that Donald Trump issued an informal declaration of war against Islam, a point that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama sought assiduously to avoid when they were in office.

President Biden intends to revoke the Trump overstated declaration that Muslim countries pose a hideous threat. If we have learned anything since 9/11 I would presume we have learned how to detect and deal with international terrorist threats, especially from Muslim nations … which renders a ban on travelers from those nations to just an unnecessary show of presidential bravado.

‘W’ extends a hand

(Photo by Paul McErlane/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It turns out that not every prominent Republican politician in America has dug in his or her heels while refusing to congratulate the next Democratic president, Joe Biden.

George W. Bush, the 43rd president, the former Texas governor and former owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, has called the president-elect to congratulate him on his victory over Donald Trump.

As the Texas Tribune has reported: “Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said in a statement. “The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.”

You know, I would be willing to bet real American money that it didn’t hurt President Bush a single bit to say those kind words about the next president.

Compare that with the idiocy spouted by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has urged Trump to refuse conceding to President-elect Biden. Concession, he said, would mean “no Republican” ever would be elected president … ever!

Good grief, Lindsey. Chill out, man. Take a hint from President Bush.

Dr. Jackson becomes U.S. rep.-elect

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I skedaddled from the Texas Panhandle a couple of years ago, so my thoughts on a just-completed political campaign in the 13th Congressional District should be considered in that context.

I am not as close to the action in the Panhandle as I used to be, but my interest in the region remains high.

13th District voters elected Dr. Ronny Jackson as their next representative. Rep.-elect Jackson presents a strange new turn in Panhandle politics, in my humble view.

Jackson is a former White House physician. He served three presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Trump wanted to nominate Jackson to be secretary of veterans affairs. Jackson didn’t make the cut; he bowed out after questions arose about his lack of administrative experience and then about his conduct as a physician.

So, he looked for a place to run for Congress and set his sights on a district where he never lived. He wanted to succeed longtime Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, who decided he didn’t want to seek re-election to a seat he held since 1995.

Jackson doesn’t know much about the district he now will¬† represent. He was born in Levelland, but moved away to join the Navy¬† — attaining the rank of rear admiral — and never looked back. Until now.

During the campaign, he became something of a shill for Donald Trump. He said some goofy things about the soon-to-be-former president.

What he knows specifically about Pantex, about the Bell/Textron aircraft assembly mission, about water conservation, or wind energy, or farm policy remains a mystery to me. Mac Thornberry is a son of the Panhandle, coming from a longtime Donley County ranching family. Jackson is a new resident of the region, so I guess I can call him a carpetbagger.

In these times, I guess it’s OK for carpetbaggers to represent the interest of folks who formerly used to demand that their political representatives be proficient in the issues important to them.

Jackson won handily.

As for his shilling for Donald Trump, I am wondering how long he’ll want to stay in office with his main man no longer in office.

Trump’s absence: the ‘new normal’?

As I have sought to process the day’s big event, the funeral of civil rights hero/icon/legend John Lewis, I pondered the absence of one individual who one could have presumed should have been there.

Donald J. Trump was not in Atlanta today to pay tribute to John Lewis, the former congressman and human rights activist who died at age 80 of pancreatic cancer. Oh, no. Trump was in Washington, tweeting messages seeking to undermine the voting rights gains for which Lewis fought, and bled.

It’s becoming something of a “new normal” in this Age of Trump as president of the United States. He was disinvited to the funeral of U.S. Sen. John McCain. Trump attended the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush, but we didn’t hear a word from him. Now, the Lewis funeral. Trump declared he had no intention of honoring Lewis while he lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

I thought about past funerals of high-profile political figures. I recalled the presence of President Lyndon Johnson at the funeral of a man he hated beyond measure, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. I remembered the funeral of President Richard Nixon and recalled one of the tributes paid to him by President Bill Clinton, who told us that we must not judge his predecessor’s public life by just one episode, but by its entire history. I remember, too, when former Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower patched up their bitter differences while attending the funeral of their successor, President John F. Kennedy. The two old war horses realized in that moment that life was too short and too precious for them to continue hating each other.

Donald Trump clearly would not have been welcomed at John Lewis’s funeral. He once chided Lewis for supposedly being “all talk and no action.” Trump ignored the beatings that Lewis endured while seeking to guarantee the rights of black Americans to vote in free and fair elections.

So it fell to three of Trump’s predecessors — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — to speak of their friend and a man who will be remembered as a legend in his own time … and beyond.¬†

Donald Trump? He was left to sulk in the background.

Is this kind of transition possible?

I invite you to spend the next three or so minutes of your time watching the video I have attached to this blog post.

Then I want to invite you to imagine Donald John Trump issuing the same kind of statement to the individual who will succeed him as president of the United States.

Oh, how I want it to be Joseph R. Biden Jr., who will face Trump in this year’s presidential election. If it’s not, then we’ll get to wait until November 2024 — and, yes, I shudder at that thought — to hear Donald Trump begin to hand over power to the next president.

I just thought I would post this video to show you how a president is supposed to conduct himself when he prepares to leave the White House in the hands of someone he no doubt opposed philosophically, but who won a fair-and-square free election.

I do not expect this kind of grace from Donald Trump.

While I’m on the subject, take a look at the next video. It’s a bit longer but it depicts President Obama talking about Donald Trump’s election in 2016.

What you see in this video, as in the first one, is an example of a president calling the nation to put its differences aside, to wish the new president success and to assure a smooth transition.

Once again, just try to imagine Donald Trump offering this to the individual who will succeed him.

Trump reaps what he has sown

I had to laugh out loud when right-wing media began criticizing former President Obama’s discreetly worded criticism of the way Donald Trump has responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why, the right-wing pundits just couldn’t understand how a former president would dare criticize a sitting president, particularly as he is up to his armpits (supposedly) fighting the pandemic.

Indeed, Obama has been quiet about Trump until only recently, when he took a couple of verbal pot shots at Trump during two virtual graduation commencement speeches he delivered via television to a national audience.

The three other living presidential predecessors — George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — have remained quiet.

But here’s the deal. Donald Trump has expended more verbal energy, not to mention Twitter characters, vilifying the efforts of Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton.

If it’s fair to criticize President Obama for talking trash about Donald Trump, it’s also fair to criticize Trump for the profound disrespect he has shown to the men who preceded him in the nation’s highest office.

Did Barack Obama ever criticize George W. Bush specifically, by name, with epithets while he struggled to rebuild an economy in free fall right after he took over as president? Yes, he has talked about the economic peril he inherited, but he also has thanked President Bush for his many years of service to the nation.

Did George W. Bush ever say a word publicly about Bill Clinton, who he succeeded in 2001?

And did Bill Clinton ever criticize his immediate predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, after taking over from him in 1993? Indeed, the two of them became dear friends, with Clinton declaring that he became a sort of “wayward son” to George and Barbara Bush.

Instead, with the current president, we hear a constant drumbeat of profound disrespect and denigration of the effort his predecessors all devoted to the oath they took to defend and protect Americans.

So what, then, if Barack Obama had offered some veiled criticism of Donald Trump? He had it coming.

Stop declaring ‘victory’ over COVID-19

President George W. Bush had his infamous “Mission Accomplished” moment aboard the aircraft carrier during the Iraq War.

The president landed on the deck of the carrier, climbed out of the jet, changed into his civvies, stood under that big sign hanging off the conning tower and then said he had accomplished our mission after we captured Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Well, it turned out we didn’t accomplish our mission. Many more Americans have died in Iraq.

Fast-forward to this week. Donald Trump stood in front of a banner that says “America Leads the World in Testing.” No. We do not.

At issue is the testing regimen being implemented to fight to coronavirus. It has killed more than 80,000 Americans.

Trump, though, keeps telling lies about our testing program. Yes, we have tested more people than any other country that is fighting the pandemic. However, the total number of tests is irrelevant.

The operative number must be the percentage of population that has been tested for the COVID-19 virus.

Donald Trump’s press briefing Monday was an exercise in deception, deflection and misdirection. He keeps boasting about the testing procedures that the administration has been ramping up. Yes, it is good that we’re getting more Americans tested for the coronavirus. However, we are way behind the curve.

This country comprises 330 million (give or take) individuals. Roughly 2 percent of them have been tested for the viral infection. How does that 2 percent figure stack up against other nations that have suffered from the virus? Not good, man.

Still, Donald Trump continues to foment yet another lie. It’s part of his modus operandi.¬†He cannot tell the truth. It’s either a genetic disposition or a willful act. I’ll go with the latter, because I believe that Trump knows he is lying but he thinks he can get away with it.

So it goes with this idiocy about coronavirus testing.

The raw numbers tell only part of the story. This large, prosperous, powerful nation is — to borrow a phrase — leading from behind on a crisis remedy where we should be lapping the field.

Time to look kindly on W’s words of wisdom

(Photo by Paul McErlane/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

I am not inclined to think of former President George W. Bush as a reasoned, rational statesman, but Donald J. Trump’s daily ration of petty partisan petulance puts the former president in yet another perspective.

Consider this Twitter message that came out May 2 from George W. Bush: “Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat. In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants, we are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise.”

President Bush sought to rally the nation that continues to be torn asunder by Trump’s blatant partisanship in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 80,000 Americans have died from the killer virus that has infected nearly 2 million of us.

President Bush, of course, is correct to assert that now — given the horrific crisis that has befallen us — is not the time for partisanship.

Oh, and Trump’s response to the 43rd president’s message drove home an unspoken point of his tweet. He whined that Bush didn’t rise to Trump’s defense while the U.S. House of Representatives was impeaching him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Point made, President Bush.

Our differences are indeed “small,” as the former president notes. This is the time for unity. It is time for the only president we have to step up, to speak to all of us as one nation in distress. It is time for the whining, carping, griping to cease.

None of this will occur while Donald Trump is sitting behind that big desk in the Oval Office.