Tag Archives: Lincoln Project

Stop the phony outrage!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The phony outrage and astonishing hypocrisy of Donald Trump’s sycophant brigade just take my breath away.

Here’s the latest.

President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, referred to Trump’s voter base as a “bunch of fu**ers.” Yep, she dropped an f-bomb on ’em.

Now, is that the way anyone should speak of a political opponent? I don’t like it. Then again, nor do I like the response that has emanated from the righteous right wing of the Republican Party that has turned the other way while Donald Trump has done the following:

Admitted to grabbing women by their genitals; mocked people with disabilities; downplayed a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 Americans; ignored a cyber attack that threatens our national security; laid waste to the rule of law; damaged our international alliances … and what else? You get the point.

So now some of Trump’s followers are just enraged that a Biden campaign guru dropped an f-bomb?

Steve Schmidt is a former Republican political operative who went on to co-found the Lincoln Project, a political action committee dedicated to defeating Donald Trump’s re-election effort. I will leave it to Schmidt to offer his response to the faux outrage that’s making the rounds.

Steve Schmidt Tells Rubio to F Himself (maxnewstoday.com)

I cannot say it any better.

A landslide in the making?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I cannot stop thinking about how this presidential election might turn out.

I won’t predict an outcome. Why? Well, the last time I tried to make such a prediction — Hillary v. Donald in 2016 — I got the surprise of my political life. I actually wrote on this blog that I thought Clinton would roll up a landslide against Trump.

Oh, how wrong that was … yes? So, I’ll move on.

The difference between then and now is stark in at least one key aspect.

Joe Biden is rolling up a lot of Republican endorsements. Clinton did not enjoy such a broad crossover appeal four years ago. Indeed, I am thinking at this moment of the last time we saw this kind of inter-party attraction.

Barack Obama didn’t have it in either of his successful presidential election campaigns; nor did George W. Bush; Bill Clinton didn’t, either; George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan depended on GOP votes; Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford had nothing of the sort.

That brings me to Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign. That was the first year I was able to vote for president. I cast my ballot for George McGovern. It turned out I was one of the “few and the proud” who voted for Sen. McGovern, who lost the popular vote by 23 percent and got swamped in the Electoral College 520-17.

That campaign featured an unusual crossover event: the formation of a group called Democrats for Nixon. The leader of that pack was a Texan named John Connally, the former governor of Texas. Big John cobbled together an alliance of Democratic pols who just couldn’t throw their support behind the progressive candidate for president. McGovern was just a squishy liberal who would surrender to the communists in Vietnam.

They helped propel President Nixon to a smashing victory.

As we move closer to the 2020 election, I am left to wonder whether the Republican pols who have turned their back on Donald Trump will be able to persuade their fellow Republicans into the Democratic fold.

Trump clearly has a firmer hold on the GOP faithful than McGovern ever had on Democrats; after all, he was nominated in 1972 at a convention that was damn near torn apart by intraparty disputes. That’s not the case now.

However, the enormous number of GOP-backed political operations that has turned on Trump fill me with a glimmer of hope that there well could be a significant victory for Joe Biden in store.

It won’t be on the scale of the landslide that Richard Nixon rolled up in 1972 … but it could be significant.

Do not hold me to this. My heart is speaking more loudly at this moment than my head.

GOP at war with itself

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_9@hotmail.com

The Republican Party is at war with itself.

Its elected leadership cannot gather up the courage to stand against a president who ostensibly represents the party, but who says things about despots and tyrants that are anathema to traditional GOP values.

The “other” wing of the party comprising former elected officials and assorted public figures has formed various political action committees and organizations whose mission is to defeat Trump in this year’s presidential election.

Which side should win this fight? I am pulling for the latter wing of the GOP to come out on top.

You have former Republican campaign operatives and assorted pundits and ex-pols joining something called the Lincoln Project, which by its name tells you that they represent the party of the 16th president of the United States, the great Abraham Lincoln.

The cadre/cabal of elected GOP officials has disgraced itself — yes, with a few notable exceptions — by cowering before Donald Trump.

Trump has remained silent about reports of Russian goons paying bounties for the lives of American servicemen and women killed by the Taliban. He has reportedly called service personnel “suckers” and “losers” because they choose to don the military uniform. Trump has denigrated the service of war heroes, such as the late Sen. John McCain. Now we hear from Trump himself that he “downplayed” the coronavirus threat even after telling iconic reporter Bob Woodward that he knew all along it would kill a lot of Americans.

The silence among those in public office is deafening and shameful. Yet they persist in their tacit defense of Trump merely by declining to condemn him in the strongest terms possible.

On the other side are those with no political axe to grind, or no political constituencies to please. They stand up to a man who prior to running for president had zero public service experience and only a passing acquaintance with classic Republican orthodoxy.

How this internecine warfare plays out will depend in large part on the presidential election outcome. My hope is that the good guys — the true Republicans who cannot stomach another four years of Trump — win this fight.

Good luck, Mr. and Mrs. Conway

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

I am not generally inclined to speak well of Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway.

However, I want to extend sincere good wishes to her as she steps away from the White House, from politics, and from Donald J. Trump’s chaos to tend to family needs.

I have been watching and listening to Conway try to defend Donald Trump’s policy lunacy over the course of the past four years. I also have been listening with considerable interest the rants of her husband, high-powered lawyer George Conway, who co-founded the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. I long have wondered: How do these two individuals manage to stay married, given the vast political differences that they air almost daily. I know that their marriage is no one’s business, but they both have been heavily involved in public affairs over the years, so their status as public figures opens up aspects of their lives that they otherwise might prefer to keep private.

It is not being reported heavily with the news that Kellyanne Conway is stepping away from her policy role at the White House and George Conway from the Lincoln Project that they are seeking to mend their marriage and tend to their children’s needs. Indeed, their teenaged daughter Claudia said recently she is seeking “emancipation” from her parents. As National Public Radio reported: In a series of tweets that followed, she said that her mother’s job had “ruined my life” and that she and her father “agree on absolutely nothing,” politically.

As the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney once noted, “There is more to life than politics.”

I wish the Conways well.

Lincoln Project firing on all cylinders

It’s called the Lincoln Project.

It is a political organization comprising former and even some current Republican politicians and political operatives. They all have one important trait in common.

They want to defeat Donald John Trump in this year’s presidential election. Why is that so unusual? Well, let’s see: Oh, yeah … Trump calls himself a Republican.

But … is he really created in the same mold as the man after whom the Lincoln Project is named? Hardly.

Abraham Lincoln was the nation’s first Republican president. He is arguably the greatest man ever to hold the office. He fought to preserve the Union that had been torn apart by Civil War. The Union won the war, but that victory cost Lincoln his life at Ford’s Theater.

The party that Donald Trump now controls bears no resemblance to the party that Lincoln helped create. The Lincoln Project has taken an astonishingly high profile in this campaign. No only is the Lincoln Project working overtime to defeat Trump, it is working equally hard to elect a Democrat, Joseph Biden Jr., to succeed Trump.

As this election continues to take shape, I am struck by the number of GOP operatives — if not active-duty GOP politicians — who have spoken of their utter disgust with Donald Trump. GOP members of Congress remain essentially silent as Trump continues to bungle the national response to the COVID-19 crisis. Trump also appears feckless as the nation reels from incidents of brutality against African-Americans, not to mention his shameful silence over reports that Russian government officials placed bounties on the heads of American service personnel killed in battle in Afghanistan.

Thus, the Lincoln Project is looking for a suitable alternative to the man masquerading as president. At this moment, the only possible alternative happens to be Democrat, Joe Biden.

And so the Lincoln Project, which carries the name of arguably the nation’s greatest president, is seeking to remove the individual who to my way of thinking has carved out his own niche as the nation’s worst president.

Trump alienating his own party

The Lincoln Project has risen to speak out.

So has a coalition of staffers who once worked for Republican President George W. Bush.

Ditto for any number of conservative thinkers/pundits/commentators.

There might even be some hidden Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate ready to bolt.

What do they have in common? They are speaking collectively against a man who calls himself a Republican, but who has no affiliation, understanding or appreciation of what used to be considered basic Republican Party principles.

Donald J. Trump’s re-election appears to be in trouble … at this moment! Yes, that could change. I mean, this guy has managed to survive some of the more hideous faux paus in recent memory. He has held on to that base of support. He told us he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and not lose any votes; many of us cringed when he said that, but there is a distressing belief that he might have been correct.

The Lincoln Project, of course, is named after President Lincoln, one of the nation’s great Republican presidents. They used to call the GOP the Party of Lincoln. It has become the Cult of Trump.

The party that once was the champion of civil rights for all Americans, whose senators enabled a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, to push landmark civil rights legislation through Congress, has become unrecognizable to President Lincoln. It has coalesced behind an individual with no discernible moral compass, no philosophical guidepost.

Thus, tried-and-true real Republicans are locking arms in the hope of defeating this GOP imposter. Whether they belong to an actual organization such as the Lincoln Project, or are a loosely held gang of former GOP presidential aides, they seem to stand for a single cause: defeating Donald Trump.

What’s more — and this is truly astonishing — they are standing publicly and loudly in favor of a Democratic candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr. One finds occasionally during every election cycle a notable partisan or two who might abandon the candidate of his or her party, but who cannot endorse anyone on the other side. That’s not happening these days.

My biggest concern at this point — given my own often-stated loathing of Donald Trump — is whether any of this will translate to tangible support when the election rolls around.

I merely want to caution everyone that Donald Trump was losing badly to Hillary Clinton at this point of the 2016 campaign. Then the wheels flew off the Clinton campaign. If there’s a lesson for the Biden team to glean from that effort it is that the 2020 Democratic nominee needs to avoid repeating the goofs that doomed an effort that fooled every political pundit in the land.