Tag Archives: POTUS

Ike would be angry

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

EISENHOWER STATE PARK, Texas — There are times when our retirement journey intersects with current events.

It happened when we returned to a place near the birthplace of one of this nation’s greatest statesmen, military heroes … and politicians.

Dwight David Eisenhower was born just down the road from where we parked our fifth wheel. You recall the nation’s 34th president, yes? He graduated from West Point, served in the Army where along the way he took command of Allied forces in Europe during World War II and helped defeat the 20th century’s most despotic tyrant. He retired from the Army and then decided he would run for public office: the presidency.

He won election in 1952 and re-election in 1956. President Eisenhower wasn’t a natural politician, but he declared himself to be a Republican because he believed in the party’s basic principles.

He would be infuriated today at the behavior of the party he left behind. The party has become an organization he likely wouldn’t recognize. It has become the playground of one man, Donald Trump, who in a strange found his way to the presidency in a somewhat parallel path as the great man, Dwight Eisenhower. Trump hadn’t sought public office, either, before launching his presidential bid.

The similarity ends there.

Ike did things, such as launch an interstate highway construction program that revolutionized our way of life. Trump? Well, he hurled invective at his foes, at the media and finally at the government he took an oath to protect.

Our retirement journey is meant to remove us from from the hassles and headaches of the headlines. Sometimes, though, there can be no escape … such as when we venture to a park named after one of America’s greatest Republicans.

Yep, I do like Ike.

Trump stain will last a good while

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump will be remembered ultimately as a failed president, one who damaged the institutions of our democracy and someone who came dangerously close to destroying the fabric of our republic.

He called himself a “consequential” president. He was all of that. And more.

Thus, his imprint will be difficult to erase from what he left behind.

I say all this because his rhetoric still resonates with so many Americans. Many millions of them voted to return him for a second term as president. Many millions more, though, voted to elect Joe Biden as president in 2020. I was among the latter category of voters, as if you didn’t know it already.

Trump’s followers continue to cast doubt on President Biden’s election, fueled by Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost fair and square to someone who outsmarted and outcampaigned him.

The near-destruction of our government, of course, occurred on Jan. 6 with the insurrection provoked by Trump.

I cannot yet identify what will be the overarching legacy that historians will determine is Trump’s most, um, significant imprint.

It might be the riot on Jan. 6; it could be the terrible spike in race-related hate crimes that occurred on his watch; it might be the fraying of alliances around the world with nations that used to depend on the U.S.’s power and influence.

My personal “favorite” ought to be the mishandling of the pandemic that exploded on the world in late 2019. Trump lied about the misery that awaited us, despite knowing that the pandemic would do the damage it has done … and is still doing!

To be sure, Trump will tout the three justices he selected to the U.S. Supreme Court. I don’t begrudge the fact that Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett sit on the court. Elections do have consequences and the 2016 election installed a president who sought to shift the court dramatically to the right. It remains to be seen, though, just how far right the court will tilt over time.

Donald Trump is gone from the White House. My sense — and certainly my hope — is that he never darkens the door of my house ever again. He is not forgotten. Wiping away the stain left by a consequential presidency will take time.

Social media ‘war’ to end?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The thought occurs to me that President Biden’s election in 2020 has produced an anticipated but highly underreported positive effect.

During the term of Donald J. Trump, there appeared — anecdotally, at least — to be a serious spike in destroyed friendships and other relationships among longtime friends and significant others.

I lost a few friends during the past four years over intense political differences. I am not proud of whatever I might have contributed to those falling-outs.

Trump is gone from the White House. Probably forever. Joe Biden’s term has begun and I am going to suggest right here that we might see a serious leveling off of the kind of animus we witnessed or heard about during Trump’s term as president.

That is a good thing. Don’t you think?

President Biden is a student of the school that suggests that political adversaries need not be enemies. Trump didn’t operate at that level. He seemingly has few political friends beyond the cultists who pledge that goofy fealty to the man. But, oh brother, he has developed more than his fair share of political enemies. Trump also has dished out the enemy label as well.

Biden rolls differently. He cultivated a reputation as a U.S. senator who was able to reach across to Republicans. He brought those decades of Senate experience to the White House as vice president in the Obama administration.

My strong sense is that as president, Joe Biden will soothe the roiling waters that have swamped friendships and spoiled many family dinners across the land. I cannot presume that would be his strategy. It’s just an effect of the kind of leadership skill he has demonstrated over his many years in public service.

Do I expect a restoration of my lost friendships? I am not holding my breath. I do expect there to be a diminution of the friendship fracturing moving ahead during the presidency of Joe Biden.

Biden builds a presidency … and burnishes legacy

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Watching Joseph R. Biden Jr. build his presidency is like watching someone come of age in real time.

You see, I’ve been acutely aware of this individual almost since the time I became involved actively in a political campaign on the other side of our vast nation. Biden got elected to the U.S. Senate in Delaware in 1972; while he was celebrating that victory, my friends and I were licking our wounds out west in Oregon while our presidential candidate, George McGovern, was suffering a monstrous landslide defeat at the hands of President Richard Nixon.

Yes, I watched the young senator go through the personal agony of losing his wife and infant daughter in a car crash before he would take office. I watched him assume his senatorial duties and then grow into the job he inherited.

Over the years I became aware of the leadership roles he assumed as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I watched him pontificate incessantly at times during committee hearings. I winced on occasion as he would bloviate past the time allotted to him.

Then I watched him run for president in 1988, only to crash and burn when he was caught copying remarks from a British politician and using them while trying to tell his own life story. The guy I supported that year for the Democratic nomination, Michael Dukakis, would suffer a landslide loss to Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Sigh …

He ran again for president in 2008 and then got thumped by the eventual nominee, Barack H. Obama … who then selected Biden to run with him as vice president.

And now he has won the highest office, grabbed the brass ring.

Hey, I am sitting now in the middle of what they call Flyover Country. I live in Texas, one of the most reliably Republican states in America. My pride in watching Joe Biden ascend to the highest office hasn’t abated one little bit.

It’s almost as if I am watching someone I “grew up with” along the way. I was barely old enough to vote when Joe Biden won his first federal office in 1972; heck, he wasn’t even old enough to assume his Senate seat until he turned 30 two weeks after that election.

Time has marched on. I am proud of Joe Biden, of his tenacity and of the courage he has exhibited while picking himself up after falling short of his aspirations. I believe the setbacks — and, yes, the tragedy — he has endured have prepared Joe Biden well for the challenges that lie ahead.

New POTUS = new style

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s single term as president of the United States seemed as we were living through it like the longest four years of our lives.

Even now, looking back, I cannot get over the prolonged misery of enduring his constant Twitter tirades, his nonsensical encounters with reporters, his endless string of epithets and innuendo.

He’s been away from the White House for 40-something days. It still seems like an eternity, yes?

Which brings me to my point, which is that President Biden’s style remains a refreshing change from the idiocy that Donald Trump brought to the presidency.

Biden lays low. He lets the experts do the talking, such as those with whom he surrounds himself to discuss COVID-related matters. He doesn’t contradict them or, as in one infamous instance, call an expert epidemiologist such as Dr. Anthony Fauci an “idiot” because he said something Donald Trump didn’t want to hear.

It remains a marvel to my eyes and ears to have placed the presidency in the hands of someone who knows the rules of the game and does not seek to shake things and people simply because he can.

We haven’t returned to completely normal behavior. We’re still fighting that pandemic. One aspect of our lives has been restored to what we used to envision, which is that our president is able to behave himself in a manner befitting the high office he occupies.

Let’s talk about existential threats … OK?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Among the reasons I have welcomed the presidency of Joe Biden is  the return of frank and open discussion by our head of state of existential threats to our nation and to Planet Earth.

Donald Trump called climate change a “hoax”; he said the same thing about the pandemic. He chose to ignore those subjects whenever he appeared in public, which was quite often given his penchant for self-aggrandizement.

President Biden has turned our attention toward issues that really matter. They present serious  threats to all of us.

Climate change? Biden is all in on efforts to combat the change in our worldwide climate. Do not tell me that the bitter cold wave that recently swept in over much of the nation, including Texas, puts the lie to the notion that our climate is changing.

President Biden at least is talking about developing cleaner energy sources, which will — make no mistake about it — produce jobs that could be lost from the fossil fuel industry.

The major beneficiary will be the planet. That’s a bad thing? I think not.

The pandemic? We are welcoming a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson. It’s a single-shot dose. It joins Pfizer and Moderna as vaccines that are inoculating millions of Americans each week. Again, Trump chose to downplay the sickness, misery and death that afflicted the nation. Joe Biden is talking openly about it, reminding us to not let up in taking safety measures to prevent infection. Did his predecessor issue such warnings? I cannot remember hearing those warnings fly out of Trump’s blow hole.

Human rights? Donald Trump wouldn’t dare talk about human rights abroad while proclaiming he and North Korea tyrant/despot/killer Kim Jong Un had fallen “in love.” At the very least we are hearing President Biden give needed lip service to the quest for human rights in places where human beings are enslaved, starved, abused by those in power.

Domestic terror? It exists in the form of white supremacists who, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, pose the greatest existential threat of all to Americans. President Biden vows to attack it head-on and is saying so loudly.

These threats have been all but ignored for the past four years. They require laser focus from the president of the United States. I happen to believe President Biden is devoting the attention to all of them that they deserve.

Biden finally set to fulfill longtime ambition

 BBy JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is no stretch at all to presume that Joe Biden has wanted to be elected president of the United States for a very long time.

He won election to the U.S. Senate in 1972 and for all I know he might have harbored presidential ambitions even as he took his Senate office at age 30.

He ran for president in 1988, but then fell out when he got caught plagiarizing speeches from a British politician. Biden tried again in 2008, but got buried early and pulled out … only to get a call from that year’s presidential nominee, Barack Hussein Obama, to run with him as vice president.

Now he has reached the pinnacle of political power.

It is times like this when I try to imagine how a normal human mind processes this marvelous achievement. Biden is facing roadblocks and assorted obstacles from the man he defeated in this year’s election. Donald Trump not only has failed to assure us of a peaceful transfer of power, he has delivered a transfer that is anything but the kind of peaceful transition the world usually looks on with awe and wonder.

However, the president-elect who at many levels likely has prepared himself for this moment is no doubt trying mightily to put the resistance aside as best he can. He is trying to cobble together a governmental executive team that will do his bidding and will work for the benefit of all Americans.

How does someone wired like Joe Biden process as well the notion that his many years as a senator and then as VP set him up to take on this task? I am left to wonder if he has doubts about whether he has dotted all the “i’s” and crossed all the “t’s.”

I have known about Joe Biden since he first became a U.S. senator. I was a young college student with a keen interest in politics. I watched him take office after enduring the tragic deaths of his wife and baby daughter in a car crash. I sort of kept an eye on him as he grew into the job. I watched him chair Senate confirmation hearings and listened to him debate opponents on the other side of the Senate chamber.

I was aware of Sen. Biden’s devotion to his sons, to his new wife and the little girl the two of them produced. I watched his first presidential campaign flame out and watched his embarrassment displayed before the land as he sought to explain how he could portray another man’s story as his own.

Somehow this fellow survived. He flourished. He got knocked down. He buried another child. And he steadied his feet under him.

Now he is about to ascend to the very top of the political summit. Not bad. Still, as I watch him I am left to wonder with all due amazement: How does one really prepare for what lies ahead as he becomes head of state and commander in chief of the world’s mightiest nation.

We are about to learn whether he has studied well.

Waiting for a ‘presidential’ president

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

While the nation remains ensnared by the machinations of a president who cannot admit to losing an election, I find myself yearning for the moment the current president exits the stage and makes way for the guy who’s going to replace him.

At the crux of my yearning is a belief that the new fellow, Joseph Biden, will restore the term “presidential” to the office he inherits from Donald Trump.

You see, the sight of Trump continuing to insist that the election was an act of thievery performed by Biden and his  team is painful to the core. It shows the world that the United States of America, whose people like to think we live in an exceptional nation, is capable of behaving like a Third World banana republic. That is what Trump is providing the world: a glimpse into the dark side of politics and into the man that managed to get elected president of the United States.

He’s about to go away somewhere. Likely to Florida. He’ll play a lot of golf soon. He might form a new team  to plot a return to politics down the road. He’ll keep yammering about Biden, about the election, about whatever filters into his vacuous skull.

Through it all, we’ll get to watch a president actually act like the man who has walked into the world’s most visible and powerful office. Yes, a lot of it will be symbolic and not of much substance.

It will be important, though, to know that our president is in control of the situation and most of all in control of his own impulses. Joe Biden is going to become a “presidential” president.

I await that moment anxiously.

Hey, Mr. POTUS … just stay in Florida

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Mr. President, this is likely the final blog entry I will direct to you, but I have something I want to get off my chest.

I get that you and the first lady are in Florida enjoying the Christmas season. Good deal, but here is what I want to ask you: Why don’t you just stay there and not bother returning to the White House? 

You have left a mess in Washington. The COVID relief bill contains some help for Americans who need it; it also funds the military; it also keeps the government running. Yet you say you won’t sign it. You screwed this up royally with your surprise reversal after your team negotiated the deal that ended up on your desk.

The chaos we all predicted would be the lowlight of your tenure as president is coming home to roost. Thanks to you!

So, just stay away from Washington. You don’t do any work there anyway, other than concoct traitorous methods to overturn an election that you lost handily. Just don’t bother darkening the door of our house, OK?

Hey, just stay near a phone. Someone can call you in case an emergency arises. You’re still the president until Jan. 20. Just remain available to make a decision that only you can make. Movers can pack up your stuff and send it to you and the first lady. They’ll know where to find you.

Beyond that, we don’t need you any longer. President Biden will be ready to step in when he takes his oath of office. What’s more, he is certain to honor the oath, which you have failed miserably to do.

I’ve had enough of you in my house. Stay away.

Merry Christmas … numbskull.

Michael Flynn: moronic notion

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The man who for 24 days served as national security adviser for Donald J. Trump has come forward with a patently stupid — and treasonous — idea.

Michael Flynn, the pardoned former Army lieutenant general, said that Trump has the authority to call out the troops, dispatch them to various states and actually order them to overturn the election that resulted in Trump’s loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

Is this individual for real? Has he lost what passes for his mind?

Gen. Flynn has actually suggested that Trump — who continues to insist he won an election he actually lost — can mount what amounts to a military coup against the government. That’s if I understand what the former national security adviser has suggested.

“He could order, within the swing states if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and basically rerun an election each in those states,” Flynn told Newsmax. What the hell? 

Thirty-three days from now, we are getting a new president. His name is Joe Biden. I want to be spared the idiocy that keeps pouring forth from Donald Trump and his cabal of kooks.