Tag Archives: GOP nomination

He once was known as ‘Rubbers’

One aspect of the late President George H.W. Bush’s extraordinary political career has been getting short shrift by the media.

I refer to a nickname a young member of the U.S. House of Representatives endured while he served there.

George Bush was known to his colleagues as “Rubbers.” How’s that? Well, he was a big-time ally of Planned Parenthood, the organization devoted to family planning, which included the distribution of contraceptives . . . and so forth.

He continued his affinity for Planned Parenthood’s agenda well past his four years in Congress. He spoke to his colleagues in 1968 about Planned Parenthood.

Read it here.

But then he became a national politician in 1980 when Ronald Reagan selected him as his vice presidential running mate. Bush and Reagan had competed against each for the Republican presidential nomination; Bush famously labeled Reagan’s trickle-down fiscal policy “voodoo economics.” That didn’t dissuade The Gipper from tapping Bush as his running mate.

Immediately upon accepting the Republican nominee’s request to join the GOP ticket that year, Bush became a “pro-life” politician.

That immediate transformation from “pro-choice” to “pro-life” always rang hollow to me. Ronald Reagan could not possibly run for the presidency with a running mate who was such a champion for an organization that was total anathema to his political base.

Bush signed on and made a pledge — and I believe it came with a wink and a nod — that he would recite the pro-life mantra when asked to do so.

George Bush never became an outspoken advocate for the pro-life position, which I suppose tells us plenty about his actual devotion to the cause.

But you do what you gotta do . . . I suppose.

What does former GOP chief really think … of Trump?

Fort Worth, Texas USA Feb. 26, 2016: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gets the endorsement of former candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during a rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Texas is the big prize in the upcoming Super Tuesday primary on March 2. (Bob Daemmrich/Polaris)

I don’t get to talk much these days with my old pal, former Texas Republican Party Chairman Tom Pauken.

He lives in Dallas; I’m way up yonder in Amarillo. Pauken has had business dealings in Amarillo, but I sense he’s backing away from them, as he would call whenever he came to town.

Here’s what I know about him.

He is a true-blue conservative. He’s the real thing. He doesn’t think much of the “neo-cons” who advised President George W. Bush; he also doesn’t think much of the former president, for that matter.

Pauken served as an Army intelligence officer in Vietnam and he believes the Iraq War was a mistake. He believes in low taxes, less government spending and he is fervently pro-life on abortion.

He’s also penned an essay in which he declares his belief that the Texas Republican National Convention delegation will line up to support the party’s eventual nominee Donald J. Trump, even though most voters endorsed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the Texas GOP primary this past March.


What I didn’t read in Pauken’s essay is a personal endorsement from him for the man who’s about to become the GOP’s presidential nominee. I attached the link to this blog, so you can see for yourself. Pauken seems strangely detached from Trump — which has become sort of the norm for many of the party’s elder statesmen and women.

What goes around ...

Trump is getting a lot of endorsements, to be sure. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his intention to back him, but one could not escape the feeling that the speaker was swallowing real hard before he uttered his words of endorsement.

My trick knee is acting up again. It’s telling me that former Texas GOP chairman Pauken is getting a lump in his own throat as he ponders his party ‘s nomination of someone such as Donald Trump.


Trump’s new ‘friends’ signal hateful campaign


No doubt about it: This year’s presidential campaign will be decided on negativity with extreme prejudice.

Consider what’s going on here with the Republican Party’s coalescing behind presumptive nominee Donald J. Trump, the guy the party establishment once loathed to the point of wanting to dump him at the GOP convention this summer.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie calls Trump “unfit” to be president; then he endorses him. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry describes Trump as a “cancer on conservatism”; then he endorses him. House Speaker Paul Ryan calls Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims as “not a conservative value” and “un-American”; now he’s considering an endorsement. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio labels Trump a “con man”; now he’s about to lend his endorsement to the guy who dubbed him Little Marco.


What do all these pols have in common? A loathing of Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ probable nominee.

Make no mistake on this: Clinton is going pretty damn negative on Trump already.

The GOP establishment, though, now appears set to back the guy they once detested because they it cannot stomach the idea of another Clinton taking office in the White House.

What does that portend for the quality of this campaign?

I’d wager some serious dough it’s going to be the Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle and Second Cousin of Negative Campaigns.

Yeah, some of you are going to argue, “Hey, man, it’s just politics.”

Actually, it need not be “just politics.” This ought to be a campaign of ideas, pitting one candidate’s philosophy, ideology and grand world view against the other one.

There’s only element missing: All of the above as they pertain to Donald Trump.

Trump denies an impersonation?


Can this campaign for the presidency get any stranger than it has gotten in the past few hours?

Yeah. It can. More than likely it will.

Donald J. Trump’s unbelievable march to the Republican Party presidential nomination has been hit with another bizarre tale. It involves a Washington Post report that in 1991, Trump impersonated someone named “John Miller” while extolling the virtues of — yep, that’s right — Donald Trump.

“Miller” was talking up Trump’s virtues in an effort to stave off reportedly negative publicity about his divorce. Those who’ve heard the recording insist it’s Trump’s voice.

Here’s where it gets weirder in the extreme. Trump this morning denied it was him.


What’s utterly insane is that even an untrained voice analyst can detect speech patterns and sentence structure that sound identical to what the real Donald Trump uses today.

But, oh no. Trump said it’s not him.

In the grand scheme of things, this likely shouldn’t count as a big deal. Except that we’re talking now about the man who’s poised to become a major-party presidential nominee. All he had to say when asked about the recorded phone conversation was, “Yes, I did it. I like to promote myself. I was just having a little fun.”

The reporter who covered the conversation initially for People magazine has said just in the past day that Trump actually called her at the time to apologize for impersonating this “John Miller” character.

Given this candidate’s astonishing record of getting away with utterly outrageous behavior on the campaign trail, do not look for this latest incident to put much of a dent in his upcoming nomination.

We can, I suppose, just add it to the lengthy list of bizarre behavior that has been the hallmark of his business and personal life.

To think he’s going to try to sell that record to a country that in just a few months will be electing its next head of state.


‘Tag team’ gangs up against Trump

cruz and kasich

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio have formed a tag team.

The want to stop Donald J. Trump’s march to the Republican Party’s presidential nomination so badly they’re willing to forget the mean things they’ve said about each other.

Will it work? I am not holding my breath for this strategy to cause the sky to crash down on Trump’s campaign.


It is an interesting alliance and an interesting strategy.

Kasich is going to bow out of campaigning actively for the Indiana GOP primary in two weeks, intending to leave the field more open to Cruz. Meanwhile, Cruz said he’s going to cede the anti-Trump vote in Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich.

What does this to — or for — Trump? It gives him some ammo to fire in his effort to suggest the GOP primary nomination selection process is “rigged” against him.

Yep, it’s going to fire up those devoted Trumpsters — or should I call them Trumpkins? — who are standing by their man through thick and thin.

My nagging question, though, is this: Suppose this strategy works. Who between the tag-team partners is going to emerge as the top dog in this fight for the party’s presidential nomination?


Trump might be ready to retaliate


Donald J. Trump more or less laid down the predicate for his candidacy when he announced it this past summer.

The Republican Party had better treat me nicely, he said, or else I’m going to make life miserable for the political brass.

I cannot help but wonder today if that prophecy is about to come true.

Trump and the other two surviving GOP presidential candidates are taking back their pledge to support the party nominee — no matter who it happens to be. Ted Cruz went back on his pledge, presuming the nominee is Trump; so did John Kasich, for the same reason.

Trump has more delegates than any other candidate. He’s in the best position as the primary campaign heads into its second half.

What happens, though, if he gets to Cleveland with a commanding delegate lead, but is still short of majority he needs to win the nomination on the first ballot outright?

This is where it might get real nasty for the Republican Party high command, which already detests the idea of Trump carrying the party banner into battle against the Democratic Party nominee.

Trump said he wanted to be treated “fairly” at the convention. I’m guessing by “fairly” he means that he gets his way. The other candidates would drop out and release their delegates to back Trump. He well might demand that the Republican National Committee insist that the others drop out. If it doesn’t, well, then what?

Trump then might have to decide if he’s going to carry through with his threat to run as an independent, which would guarantee the Democrats keep the White House.

What happens if he stays within his newfound party home, captures the nomination and then goes on to get blown out by the other party’s candidate who, I am going to presume, will be Hillary Rodham Clinton? You know as well as I know that Clinton’s camp is going to be loaded with ammo with which to launch a heavy barrage against Trump.

No matter which course Trump takes between now and the convention, the road ahead for the Republican Party appears to be strewn with land mines, sink holes, booby traps, crocs in the swamp … you name it.

I’ll hand it to the party’s presumptive nominee.

He gave the country — and his party — fair warning.


No mea culpa from Mitt, but still pretty powerful


Mitt Romney didn’t take my advice.

He didn’t acknowledge his mistake in seeking Donald J. Trump’s endorsement for president in 2012. Still, despite what I had hoped he would say, the immediate past Republican Party presidential nominee did a fine job this morning of eviscerating the frontrunner for the party’s next presidential nomination.

Not that it’s sure to resonate with the legions of Trumpsters who’ve glommed on to the reality TV celebrity’s shtick, which is virtually what Romney has called the candidate’s political circus act.

The man is as phony as they come. He’s not one of us, the GOP elder said; he’s not even as astute a businessman as he portrays himself, Romney added. His domestic and tax policies would created a “prolonged recession,” and his foreign policy ideas would put the nation into grave danger around the world.

Trump lacks the temperament and the judgment to be the Leader of the Free World, said Romney.

There’s so much more to add. I won’t. just take a look at the link I’ve just attached to this blog.

At a couple of levels, the speech today was most extraordinary. Some pundits this morning called it “unprecedented” for a major party’s most recent presidential nominee to openly rebuke the presumed favorite to carry the party banner further.

Romney all but endorsed the idea of a deadlocked GOP convention this summer in Cleveland to enable the party to turn to someone other than Trump. Romney said voters in Florida should back Marco Rubio and those in Ohio should vote for John Kasich.

All of this begs another question: Would the party frontrunner chuck the whole thing if he can’t corral enough delegates to guarantee a first-ballot nomination?

Look at this way: He might think that since the party isn’t treating him nicely, he could decide to forgo the floor fight and then launch some kind of rogue independent bid in an effort to stick it to the party honchos who are working overtime to deny him the nomination.

It isn’t likely to happen. But you know … if this campaign has demonstrated anything it has shown us that not a single scenario is beyond the possible.

I am one who never would have thought — not in a bazillion years — that we’d have reached this point in a campaign for the presidency of the United States of America.


Popular culture overwhelms public policy


A friend and I were visiting at Amarillo College earlier this week.

I was there to talk to a journalism class about trends in modern journalism and politics. My friend broached the subject of Donald J. Trump’s astounding success in the Republican Party presidential primary.

He calls himself a “conservative,” and then offered this piece of wisdom: It is that we are now witnessing a campaign in which popular culture is determining which candidate might become the nominee of a major political party.

It’s celebrity worship, my friend said. Voters have become smitten with the idea that a pop culture icon actually can become president, he said.

Does this explain the allure that Trump has cast over a Republican primary electorate? I believe my pal is onto something.

Other friends of mine who actually support Trump keep harping on his willingness to “tell it like it is.” They are swept away by his tossing aside what they call “political correctness.” They just love how he is able to say what he wants, when he wants and to whom he wants.

Is this what where we’ve arrived? Are some Americans actually willing to throw their support behind a candidate who demonstrates zero understanding of how government actually works? They’re willing to line up behind someone who believes insulting his opponents passes for legitimate political debate? They are actually going to vote for an individual who sounds very much like someone who believes he is bigger and more important than the office he seeks to occupy?

Popular culture has its place. I grew up during a turbulent time in this country where we all witnessed massive changes in the country’s popular culture. Remember when dead-pan comedian Pat Paulson ran for president — as a joke?

Well, these days we have a bombastic carnival barker seeking to become the head of state of the greatest nation in world history. Forget the crap about how he wants to “make America great again.” We’re still the greatest nation on Earth and his assertion we are not denigrates all the public servants — military and civilian — who pledge to defend us.

Several of the candidates for president keep saying how frightened they have become since Barack Obama became president more than seven years ago.

They’ve persuaded many Americans to join them in that fear.

Other Americans — such as myself — worry what might happen if this election produces the worst result possible.

That would be the election of Donald J. Trump.

I will maintain my hope that reason and rational thinking will overtake this infatuation with popular culture.


Loyalty? Palin throws it away

Former Gov. of Alaska Sarah Palin speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority 2013 conference, Saturday, June 15, 2013, in Washington. Religious conservatives have been skeptical of the Republican National Committee's plan for growth, which calls for more tolerant attitudes on immigration and social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. Palin, the conference's final speaker, rejected calls for an immigration overhaul, that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Well, that was fun to watch.

Former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Donald J. Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. She is the queen mother of the TEA Party movement.

The conventional wisdom had been that she’d endorse Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination.

It didn’t happen.

So now  you have to wonder: Has Palin changed her stripes?

TEA Party loyalists — the hard-core folks — call Trump a closet liberal. He’s not the real deal, they say. He used to be friends with (gulp!) Bill and Hillary Clinton, for crying out loud. He’s given money to Democrats.

But then out came Sarah Barracuda today, talking glowingly about Trump.

As for Cruz, he’s now the man left in the cold.

Cruz welcomed Palin to a conservative action conference a year ago, calling her someone who “picks winners.” He called her “principled” and “courageous.”

Is she now all of those things, in Cruz’s mind? I’d bet not.

I never thought the Republican Party primary campaign could get any more fun — or hilarious — than it has been up to this moment.

Silly me. It just did.


Is hell about to freeze over? Will GOP nominate Trump?

trump and carson

I listened to a couple of Sunday morning talk shows today and heard something I didn’t think I’d ever hear.

From the mouths of a couple of Republican-friendly pundits I heard that the GOP might — just might — nominate Donald J. Trump as its next nominee for president of the United States.

National Review editor Rich Lowry said on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that if Trump can survive in Iowa — where Dr. Ben Carson is now leading — and win New Hampshire and then South Carolina, there may be no stopping him.

Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said on “Meet the Press” that it’s quite possible, indeed, that Republicans could nominate Trump.

Much of the discussion this morning centered on how the Republican “establishment,” whatever that means, plans to deal with a Trump nomination should it come to pass.

Some of us out here have wondered from the very beginning of Trump’s candidacy how he would hold up. So help me, I’m utterly baffled by it. I’ve heard the punditry talk about the mood of the electorate and particularly the mood of the GOP “base.” They’re tired of “politics as usual” and the politicians who keep striving to maintain the status quo.

Thus, Trump, Carson and Carly Fiorina all have gained traction.

It’s the Trump phenomenon that is giving me heartburn.

Trump insults Hispanics. He denigrates a genuine war hero, John McCain. He makes hideous comments about a Fox News anchor spewing blood from “her whatever.” He says he’d be dating his daughter if she weren’t his daughter. He hurls personal insults at his GOP primary rivals.

And through it all, he remains the front runner.

There once was a time when a candidate’s utter disregard for any semblance of decorum and dignity would cause him to be laughed off the political stage.

Not this time.

Someone … please pass me the Tums.