Tag Archives: GOP

Cornyn a RINO? Hardly!

AMARILLO, Texas — A longtime friend of mine revealed something to me today I did not expect.

He called John Cornyn, the state’s senior U.S. senator, a Republican In Name Only. I could only respond with, “Cornyn a RINO? No, he isn’t.” My friend wasn’t to be deterred. Yes, he is, my friend said. So is George W. Bush and so, too, is the rest of the state “in danger” of becoming a “blue state.”

Ah, but then he laughed it all off. He said, “I guess it depends on your perspective.” Yep, boy howdy, dude!

My friend is a fellow I admire greatly, and I will continue to admire him and will call him my friend. I just am going to suppose that we won’t talk politics in the near — or likely distant — future.

I came back to where we lived for 23 years. I guess my discovery of my friend’s political outlook reminded me of just how “conservative” the right wing swings in this part of the world. It reminded me of how the Panhandle once served as a breeding ground for the John Birch Society, about how so many residents of this community adhered to the ultra right wing of the political spectrum.

My friend took a moment to note during our visit that I am “exposed to all them liberals in Dallas.” Therefore, it doesn’t bother me, he conjectured.

I then informed him that because of recent events in my life I am divorcing myself from politics — at least from the extent I have been involved in them in recent years. Yeah, I know that this is a “political” blog post, but its intent is to illustrate one of the discoveries I have made on my westward journey from my home in North Texas.

And so … the journey continues in the morning to places far out west.

Pacific Ocean? Here I come!


‘Pork-barrel spending’ has vanished?

Whatever happened to the term once used by budget hawks to vilify politicians who spend money “recklessly”?

That would be “pork-barrel spending.” It has vanished, seemingly, from the contemporary glossary of verbiage in today’s contentious political climate.

I remember when a former U.S. senator from Texas, Republican Phil Gramm, would boast about “bringing home so much pork, I was afraid I would come down with trichinosis.”

“Pork” is the term that refers to special project appropriations that members of Congress sneak into legislation. You know what I mean: money for bridges, airport control towers, road-and-highway improvements, federal office complexes. The late Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, another Republican, once was vilified for his “bridge to nowhere” for which he managed to get money appropriated.

I am not entirely opposed to “pork-barrel spending” if the project that the Congress member is pushing actually does some good for the public. I mean, these men and women, do work for us. We demand certain things from our lawmakers and, as always, it takes money to make those things appear in our states and congressional districts.

In Collin County, Texas, we have a first-term Republican, Keith Self, representing our interests. I don’t hear much about his work to ensure federal money to improve our infrastructure. Instead, I hear him talking about “election integrity,” and a whole array of social issues that, frankly, mean next to nothing to me.

And our state’s two GOP U.S. senators — John Cornyn and Ted Cruz? They, too, are busy condemning Democrats to concentrate on matters of more immediate concern to their state.

If the MAGA crowd among the GOP congressional caucus is interested in controlling federal spending while they threaten to renege on our national debt — a truly catastrophic proposal — then they will resurrect “pork barrel spending” as a fiscal talking point.


So many topsy-turvy examples

There exist almost too many examples of how modern politics has been turned on its ear that I dare not try to list them all.

Instead, I’ll focus on just one astonishing example. It deal with how Republicans in Congress, members of a political party that once revered law enforcement, have turned their backs on the men and women in blue.

For example, many of the MAGA cult among the GOP stand with the traitors who stormed the Capitol Building on 1/6 while seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. When given a chance to support the officers who defended them on that day, they turned their backs on them, declining to support recognition for their heroism.

What the hell?

Republicans used to campaign on “law and order.” They formerly held law enforcement in the highest esteem imaginable. They rarely opposed anything to do with helping the cops do their jobs.

These days they accuse the FBI of “targeting” the mobsters who stormed the Capitol. A delegation of MAGA members of the House now want to conduct hearings into whether the jailed traitors are being “mistreated.” They are pushing for reforms in the corrections system.

Why the change of heart? It must be that the traitors were seeking to install a defeated president into an office he lost legitimately through a free and fair — and legal — election.

What’s at least as troubling is that there is no debating this topsy-turviness with them. They stand behind their perverted notion that law enforcement suddenly has gotten corrupt. They adhere to the trash being spewed about the 1/6 assault being a “mostly peaceful” endeavor. It was nothing of the damn sort!

It was a full-out attack on our system of government and for any so-called responsible politician to call it otherwise is a disgraceful example of political perversion that must be stopped.


Biden tax strategy makes sense

Joe Biden drew a few lines in the sand today with his budget proposal, but I want to look at just one of them with this brief post: tax policy.

The president has dared congressional Republicans to oppose his notion that those who earn $400,000 per year should pay more in taxes than those who earn less than that. Interestingly, that is the amount of money that Biden earns annually as president of the United States; that amount, plus first lady Jill Biden’s teaching salary and the assorted other income he receives puts him in the rich folks’ tax bracket.

Middle-class Americans won’t pay more in taxes, Biden said.

Fine. I’m all for that. As an American on a fixed income who makes a little scratch each year writing freelance articles for a weekly newspaper group and for a public radio station in North Texas, I don’t want to pay any more in taxes than I do already.

Too many uber-rich Americans perform the Houdini act of not paying taxes. Ditto for corporations, according to the president.

Joe Biden has positioned himself as being “for the average American” and has positioned his political foes — namely Republicans in Congress — as being in the corner of the “rich and powerful.”

Hmm. Which side am I going to take? Oh, wait! I am one of those average Americans for whom the president says he is fighting.


Biden budget = political weapon

Let’s put it all on the table: President Biden’s announcement of a new federal budget proposal is aimed at a political audience, not at anyone in Congress who he can persuade to join him in the effort to advance the “values” he espouses.

Joe Biden ventured to Pennsylvania to unveil a budget he says will cut the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade. That is, to borrow a phrase, a Big F****** Deal.

He wants to raises taxes on rich Americans and corporations. He wants to preserve Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act. The president wants to shore up our military, our national intelligence network, the fight for Ukraine’s sovereignty. Biden wants to make community college attendance free.

Is this going to fly with what he referred to continuously today with the “MAGA Republicans”? Not a chance, man!

Instead, he has laid out a predicate for his 2024 re-election effort, which many believe he will announce soon. President Biden is going to put congressional Republicans on record as opposing the very things he said he wants to do.

I am all in with what he wants to accomplish.

Of course, looming mightily over all this is the threat by Republicans to crash the world economy by allowing the United States to default on the national debt that it has accrued since the beginning of the Republic. The president made that point, too, telling Republicans that they had a hand in running up that debt and that the U.S. Constitution requires the nation to maintain its “full faith and credit.”

Republicans, particularly the know-nothings who comprise the MAGA cabal, need to understand that they cannot mess with the national debt without collapsing the entire world economy. Got it? They had better!

President Biden’s budget as he has presented it won’t get through Congress. A big part of me believes the president — who knows how Congress works — understands that, but he has thrown down the gauntlet and dared the GOP to pick it up.


Texas cannot secede, period!

Bryan Slaton has lost his mind. I mean, how else can one explain why the second-term Republican Texas state representative wants to give Texans a chance to decide whether to secede from the United States of America?

Slaton represents a portion of Northeast Texas and has authored a bill that calls for a referendum to determine whether Texans want to leave the nation.

Earth to Slaton: The Civil War settled that issue. The Texas Tribune reports: “The legality of seceding is problematic,” Eric McDaniel, associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune in 2016. “The Civil War played a very big role in establishing the power of the federal government and cementing that the federal government has the final say in these issues.”

Slaton, a Royse City Republican, apparently doesn’t accept that notion.

Good grief, man! May we stop this idiocy from taking root in the Legislature?

Texas can’t secede from the U.S. Here’s why. | The Texas Tribune

This is the kind of craziness that infects any notion of good government coming from Austin.

The first secession in 1861 was declared illegal, too, by the Supreme Court. Yet, Texas joined the Confederate States of America and went to war against the Union. Any effort to do so again would be deemed not just illegal, but insane.

As for Slaton, someone needs to determine this young man’s fitness for public office. From my perch in Collin County, he is sounding like a certifiable nut case.


This is ‘diversity’?

Republicans are entitled to spin the conflict within their political party any way they wish.

However, the conflict is real and I do not believe it has anything to do with what the GOP honchos might refer to as “diversity of thought and policy” within a once-great political party.

It has more to do — indeed, seemingly everything to do — with whether the party will be hamstrung by the hammerlock placed on it by the MAGA/America First/election denier wing of the GOP led by the former president of the United States who claims to want his old job back.

The alternative to that wing continues to be the “establishment” Republicans who, to my way of thinking, have a long to go to resemble the Dwight Eisenhower/Teddy Roosevelt/Nelson Rockefeller/George H.W. Bush wing that once dominated thought within the GOP.

Instead, it has been hijacked by nut jobs who insist that the United States is a “Christian nation,” all the while vilifying any non-Christians. Think about that for just a moment. Is that the way Jesus Christ taught his disciples when he walked the Earth? Didn’t he counsel us to love your enemy? You get that point, I am sure.

The nut jobs rely on conspiracy theories that make no sense, have no basis in fact and which only prey on the fear of the gullible among us who seem to want to believe the rubbish that flows from the pie holes of those in power.

Black Americans aren’t welcome in the Republican Party that once was thought to be the only party that sought to free Blacks from their enslavement. Oh, how times have turned everything on its ear!

The conflict within the party that is playing out by all the notable no-shows at the Conservative Action Political Conference gathering tells me that the party isn’t seeking to highlight its “diversity.” It suggests a battle between the crackpot cabal and those who are running away from the insurgents who pose a threat to our democratic process.

I am pulling for the non-crackpots … because I want our democracy to survive!


Has GOP gone mad?

For the life of me I cannot come to grips with the astonishing hold that a twice-impeached, likely-to-be-indicted former president of the U.S.A. has on the Republican Party.

I keep seeing these polls that suggest that the aforementioned disgrace continues to lead the GOP field in the preliminary jockeying for the 2024 party presidential nomination.

Maybe I should be thankful that Republicans continue to slobber over themselves at the notion that the party convention actually could nominate this moron in the summer of 2024.

It does make me wonder: What in the name of all that is holy has happened to a party that once was the champion of equal rights, of racial equality, of fiscal responsibility and adamant opposition to tyranny and tyrants?

It has been hijacked by a first-time politician who had no clue what to do when he got elected to the presidency in 2016 and then proceeded to engage in two impeachable offenses. The only thing that saved his sorry ass from being tossed out of office was that sickening loyalty he demanded from those in the Senate who refused to do the right thing and convict him of the crimes for which the House impeached him!

OK. I’ve gotten all of that off my chest. I am going to stand by my earlier assertion that I remain dubious that this idiot won’t be nominated.

But if he is … then my ol’ trick knee tells me there is no way on God’s good Earth that he will be elected. I just hope the trick knee doesn’t let me down.


Recalling a more civil time

I spend a good bit of time these days — when politics enters my noggin — thinking about how it used to be on the national stage.

I recently watched a YouTube video of a young U.S. senator-elect talking to David Letterman about his campaign for the Senate and how he didn’t run “negative ads.”

He lamented how the tone in 2004 had degenerated into what it became and he vowed to change it once he took office.

Barack Obama on His Multiracial Identity | Letterman – YouTube

Barack Obama didn’t succeed in changing the political tone. Indeed, he would have higher aspirations eventually and when he ascended to the presidency in 2009, he ran smack into a Republican obstruction machine operated by the GOP Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, who declared his intention would be to make Obama “a one-term president.”

It didn’t work out the way McConnell wanted … but that’s all right with me.

What also didn’t work out the way President Obama wanted was the tone of debate. It only worsened during his two terms in office and then it spiraled out of control when his successor got elected in 2016.

Who’s to shoulder the bulk of the blame? The current fire-breathers happen to be the MAGA cabal among congressional Republicans. I’ll go with that.

They need to be removed from the political stage. Which is what elections are designed to do. They are designed to cleanse the political system, to remove the toxicity from the fabric of our government. Will they do so in 2024? I damn sure hope so.

Then, perhaps, we can return to some semblance of civility where we can, as the young senator said prior to taking office in 2005, restore a climate where we can disagree over policy without condemning the other side.


Pence to skip CPAC?

How interesting, eh? Former Vice President Mike Pence, who well might run for president in 2024, is going to skip the annual Conservative Action Political Conference that is set to begin this week.

Why? Oh, wait! It’s because many of the CPAC ranks of right-wing political radicals actually wanted to hang him when the 1/6 insurrection erupted on Capitol Hill.

They carried signs and shouted out their desire to kill the VP because he wouldn’t do what they demanded, which was to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and hand the result to Donald Trump … who encouraged them to do what they did on that terrible day.

Instead, Pence decided to follow the U.S. Constitution and simply preside over the counting of the Electoral College results that determined that Joe Biden won the election — and that Donald Trump lost it!

CPAC is thought to be a sounding board for conservative GOP presidential candidates. Not all of ’em, not this year!

Pence is staying away.