Tag Archives: Rand Paul

Senator fuels peeve list

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My list of pet peeves is lengthy.

It includes watching a politician lecture an expert on matters the expert knows far better than the lecturing politician.

My latest example of that occurred Thursday when U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, patronized Dr. Anthony Fauci over the value of wearing masks as a weapon to use against the killer coronavirus.

To be totally fair, I should stipulate that Sen. Paul is an MD. He is an ophthalmologist, so he isn’t a layman the way I am a layman. However, to listen to Sen./Dr. Paul lecture Dr. Fauci during a Senate committee hearing about whether mask wearing actually combats the virus makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I guess I should declare once more that Fauci is the world’s pre-eminent infectious disease expert. He is The Man, the go-to guy, the doc who has served seven U.S. presidents from both political parties.

Fauci said categorically that wearing a mask is effective in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, along with social distancing, frequent hand-washing and other measures.

Rand Paul persisted in trying to make whatever political point he wanted to make at Fauci’s expense. Dr. Fauci wasn’t having any of it.

I was delighted to hear Dr. Fauci push back hard against the know-it-all U.S. senator.

No, Sen. Paul . . . it is not time to investigate former president

I want to direct this brief post to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Sen. Paul, please give up this notion of dragging former President Obama into the Russia matter involving Donald J. Trump.

The special counsel has concluded that the president’s campaign team did not collude with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. That part of the probe is over.

Now, though, you say it’s time for Congress to examine what role Obama allegedly played in prompting the investigation. Good grief, man! Obama is out of office. What do you think you’re going to gain from examining it now?

Obama got word in 2016 of the FBI looking at potential Russian interference, but was advised to keep it quiet because of potential blowback as it being an effort to help Hillary Clinton. Who advised him to keep quiet? Sen. Mitch McConnell, your fellow Kentuckian.

Oh, and I chuckle at your citing some Twitter post from Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News personality, who has said it is time to examine the circumstances that pre-date Trump taking the presidential oath.

Why chuckle? Guilfoyle is dating Don Trump Jr., the president’s loudmouth eldest son. She is hardly an impartial bystander.

I am left to shake my head and mutter, “big . . . deal.”

Rep. Schiff does not deserve to have his name denigrated

I have tried seemingly forever to avoid criticizing public figures on at least two levels. That is, two aspects are off limits.

I avoid making fun of their physical appearance and also their name.

Donald Trump has managed during his meteoric political career to do precisely both of those things. He has poked fun/mocked a New York Times reporter’s physical disability; he has made snarky — and unfounded — remarks about the physical appearances of former Republican presidential primary foes Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul; he’s denigrated the appearances of women who have accused him of sexual assault.

Now he has bastardized U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff’s name with that vulgar tweet in which he refers to the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman as “Little Adam Schitt.” The California Democrat has taken the hideous insult with a good bit of humor, but hasn’t dwelled on it. Those of us on the sidelines are making the big deal of it. As we should, in my humble view.

Even a few conservative voices are speaking out against Trump’s insult against Schiff. This came from radio talker Laura Ingraham:

“Being tough is great, we all love it. Tough, strong president. You don’t have to ridicule Adam Schiff’s name. It’s an unforced error. There’s no reason to do that.”

No, Laura: You all love it. I don’t.

Ingraham is giving the president the benefit of several doubts. She’s far more tepid in her criticism than I would be. Still, at least she has said something about it.

Trump’s use of Twitter to insult foes at this level reveals a serious flaw in his own emotional, intellectual and perhaps even psychological makeup.

Good grief, the president is free to criticize people’s policies, their public statements, their actions in front of their constituents.

But their appearance? Their family name?


Now it’s the GOP’s fault, yes?

I don’t know how this latest federal budget showdown is going to play out.

Still, I am wondering about how the president is going to assess responsibility if the government shuts down for the second time in a month.

The culprit this time might be Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican who has put a hold on the Senate deal that sets a budget for two years. Paul, one of those staunch fiscal conservatives, hates the budget because it spends too much money. Never mind that it is a truly bipartisan effort.

So he’s delaying a Senate vote, delaying another vote in the House of Representatives, delaying a budget going to the president’s desk — and getting his signature.

Donald Trump was quite quick to blame Democrats for the earlier government shutdown. Will the president be as quick to blame a fellow Republican for this latest government cluster flip?

The president endorsed the Senate deal worked out by bipartisan leaders in the upper chamber, even though he had said the previous day he would “shut the government down” if Congress didn’t come up with a deal to stiffen border security.

Now he’s getting torpedoed by one of his own GOP allies — because i spends too much money.

This ain’t good government, folks.

Sen. Paul backs off on investigations … seriously?

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said the following on Fox News Radio. Pay attention, please.

“I think that might be excessive. I think it looks like the President has handled the situation and unless there’s some kind of other evidence of malfeasance, this sounds like something that was internal White House politics and it looks like the President’s handled it. … I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do like repealing Obamacare if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”

The Kentucky Republican is talking about whether Congress needs to investigate allegations that former national security adviser Michael Flynn met with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. These meetings lie at the heart of the swirling controversy that threatens to engulf the Trump administration.

Republicans who run Congress do not need to investigate the Republican president, Sen. Paul said.

Investigations take up too much time he said, distracting lawmakers from more important matters.

Wow! I guess he forgot about all the Benghazi hearings involving former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that, um, turned up nothing. Zero!

Oh, wait! It’s OK for Congress to launch interminable investigations looking for dirt on someone from the other party.

Is that correct, Sen. Paul? Well … Senator?

That’s not the point, Sen. Paul

Sen. Rand Paul has missed the point — by a mile! — over the brewing controversy surrounding one of his congressional colleague’s criticism of the president-elect of the United States.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis said he doesn’t consider Donald Trump to be a “legitimate president.” Why? It’s the Russian hacking stuff, according to Lewis, who said allegations of hacking by the Russians to swing the election in Trump’s favor had “destroyed” Hillary Rodham Clinton’s own presidential candidacy.

It got even better. Then came Trump’s response, via Twitter, in which he said Lewis is “all talk, talk, talk. No action. Sad!”

Anyone with an inkling of knowledge of U.S. history would know that John Lewis is a legendary figure in the civil rights movement who was beating to a bloody pulp by police squads while he demonstrated for the cause of voting and civil rights for all Americans.

He is a man of profound action. Trump should know that and he should not have responded in that hideous manner.

Now we get Rand Paul, R-Ky., weighing in, saying that Lewis’s status as a civil rights icon doesn’t make him “immune from criticism.”

Good bleeping grief, senator!

No one said he is immune! I’ve criticized him in this forum for his “not legitimate” comment about Trump’s presidency.

Hold on, Rep. Lewis!

Rep. Lewis ought to be immune, however, from idiotic tweets that suggest that he’s “all talk and no action.”


What’s more, the timing of Trump’s tweet — on this weekend in which we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with whom Lewis stood during those bloody, violent days — is yet another point of contention.

Those issues, Sen. Paul, are at the crux of the criticism that has been fired back at the president-elect.

Anti-Iraq War president picks pro-war team


I am pretty sure I heard Donald J. Trump call the Iraq War a “disaster,” a “mistake,” a “terrible decision.”

It’s not clear to me, though, whether the president-elect actually opposed the war from its beginning, or during the period leading up to the first shots being fired in March 2003.

But during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump did criticize the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq.

Why, then, is he going to send a deputy secretary of state before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for confirmation?

John Bolton is a serious war hawk. He believes in regime change. He supported the Iraq War. He bought into the notion that the late Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He has called for going to war with Iran. At least one key Republican committee member, Rand Paul of Kentucky, says he’ll vote automatically against Bolton’s confirmation.

Bolton is hoping to join a State Department team headed by a designated secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, whose confirmation itself isn’t a sure thing. He’ll have to answer many questions about his friendship with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, who Sen. John McCain has labeled a “butcher” and “murderer.”

But this Bolton character, a former U.N. ambassador, brings a serious dichotomy into play.

The president-elect opposed the Iraq War — he says — and yet he’s going to bring the hawkiest of hawks into his foreign-policy team?

I do not understand any of this.

My head is spinning.

Bipartisanship emerges … in opposition to Trump picks


What do you know about that?

Donald J. Trump might be learning that he doesn’t have as many friends on Capitol Hill as he thought he did.

It appears that some of the president-elect’s Cabinet picks aren’t going down well … with some Republican lawmakers. Never mind the Democrats. You know they’ll detest almost any pick the GOP president-elect is going to make.

I was struck this morning when I heard Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky declare himself to be almost an automatic “no” vote against probable secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson. Why the intense opposition? That would be the selection of John Bolton to be Tillerson’s deputy secretary, according to Paul. Bolton believes in “regime change” and has all but advocated going to war with Iran, both views that Paul opposes strongly.


Others among Trump’s Republican base of support are bristling at some of the picks. Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick to be treasury secretary, represents the “status quo,” according to Erick Erickson, the longtime TEA party activist. Labor Department nominee Andrew Puzder is said to be in favor of “open borders.”

Now we have Tillerson at State. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, said he has “concerns” about Tillerson’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tillerson is CEO of ExxonMobil, which is exploring for oil throughout Russia; Tillerson has brokered numerous business deals involving Russian government officials, including Putin.

Where do we go from here?

Trump will need a lot of friends on Capitol Hill to rally to his side as he sends his Cabinet picks to the Senate for confirmation.

Here’s the deal, though: He ran against many of them within his own Republican Party on his highly improbable victorious campaign for the presidency.

Good luck, Mr. President-elect.

Where were you on Sept. 10, 2001, Gov. Christie?


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie needs to come clean on a statement he made during Thursday night’s joint appearance with nine other Republican candidates for president.

He said something about being “appointed U.S. attorney” on Sept. 10, 2001, a day before “the world changed forever” during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Oops, governor.

Not so, sir.

President Bush appointed Christie to be U.S. attorney in New Jersey on Dec. 7, 2001. But to make some kind of argument against U.S. Sen. Rand Paul during the Thursday night “debate,” he said he’d been named to the job the day before those attacks and that on the day of the attacks he was “hugging” family members of victims.

Look, I happen to like Gov. Christie. I hope he does well during the upcoming GOP presidential primary campaign. I like his no-nonsense approach to problem-solving, his sometimes-blunt talk, his can-do attitude — and I even like the fact that he hugged Barack Obama when the president came to the Jersey Shore to inspect the damage done by Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy on the eve of the 2012 presidential election.

However, he need not inflate his resume by putting himself a tad too quickly into a federal office just to score political points.

It’s unbecoming.


Blue suits: uniform of the day

blue suits

My wife likely would be the first — and maybe the last — person to tell you I have no business being a fashion consultant.

She reminds me on occasion that I tend to dress like a stereotypical journalist — whatever that means. I’m often a bit rumpled and not quite “pulled together,” to use her description.

Still, am I the only Republican presidential “debate” viewer Thursday night who noticed that all 10 members of the GOP “A Team,” the guys at the top of the polls, were dressed essentially the same?

With the obvious exception of Ben Carson (third from left in the picture), all these guys even kinda/sorta looked the same. Most of them have dark-ish hair — although Sen. Rand Paul’s (second from right) style is sort of, um, one of a kind.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s ‘do stands alone.

It seems as though they all talked to the same media consultant who issued the memo: blue suit, plain shirt, red or blue tie; Old Glory lapel flag pins are optional.

But the sameness among all of them — yes, even The Donald — looks a bit creepy.

I’m betting the three Democratic male presidential candidates will consult with the same media guru prior to their debate.