Tag Archives: Republicans

Democrats feeling good, however …

Democrats across the nation are feeling pretty good these days about the midterm election that’s just around the ol’ corner.

They’re so full of confidence that they believe they will retain — and possibly strengthen — their majority control of the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House, of course, remains an open question, which in itself is a sort of moral victory, given the certainty of a Republican takeover that everyone in the world just a few months ago was predicting would happen.

But I want to offer a word of caution to Democrats as they prepare for the midterm election. Many of them want to use a potentially strengthened Senate majority to get rid of the filibuster, which they believe — with some justification — has been misused by Republicans to block important legislation.

I agree that there ought to be some changes made in the filibuster, such as requiring senators to speak until grow hoarse while stopping bills from becoming law. These days all a senator has to do is object and that constitutes a “filibuster.”

However, ridding the Senate of this legislative tool can bite Democrats in the backside. What would they say, for instance, if they suddenly find themselves in the minority? The filibuster’s intent is to give senators in the minority a little extra punch to pack. Democrats know they won’t hold the majority forever; hell, they might not hold it this year, despite the tide that seems to be turning in their favor … at this moment!

My hope for Senate Democrats, if they are able to maintain the gavels of their committees, is that they don’t reach beyond their grasp as it regards the filibuster. I am no fan of the procedure, but I do understand why the Senate enacted the rule in the first place. It’s not written in the Constitution, but it does give senators a tool they can use to block bills that shouldn’t become law.

As for the midterm result, I am going to hope that Democrats are able to withstand the MAGA tide that has overwhelmed the Republican Party.


Irony awaits impeachment conclusion

There’s a certain sense of irony associated with what is about to happen in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the U.S. Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed an impeachment inquiry for as long as she could, believing that impeaching Donald Trump would divide the nation more than it is already divided.

Then came that infamous phone call of this past July and the request from the president for Ukraine to help him with a personal political favor. Trump wanted to hold up some key military aid to Ukraine — which wanted it to fight the Russian-backed rebels — until Ukraine delivered on the favor; he wanted to find dirt on a potential political foe, former Vice President Joe Biden.

That did it! said Pelosi. We have to impeach the president. More to the point, she said we had to look into whether there are sufficient grounds to impeach him.

To my way of thinking — and to the thinking of millions of other Americans — the House found sufficient reason to impeach him. House members came up with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It’s as clear to me as the day is long.

Yet, the division remains. Democrats are virtually all in. Republican are virtually all opposed to what Democrats want to do.

So, the House will impeach Trump on two articles of impeachment. The Senate will conduct a trial. As near as anyone can tell, Democrats will have enough votes to send the matter to the Senate. Republicans, though, are in control of the upper chamber, so they’ll find Trump “not guilty.”

You see the irony? Pelosi’s fear of a divided nation is coming true — even in the face of what many of us consider to be overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump should be thrown out of office for putting his personal political fortunes ahead of the national interest.

Let the socialist congresswoman learn her way

I am amused and slightly baffled at all the attention a rookie member of the next Congress getting.

Ocasio-Cortez is the talk of D.C. Democrats love her; Republicans ridicule her. She’s a Democrat, having knocked off a well-known member of her own party’s congressional leadership in the New York state primary, then cruising to election this past month.

Ocasio-Cortez is 29 years of age. She’s a socialist, at least that’s what she calls herself. GOP foes are equating that to her being the daughter of Satan.

Her entry onto the national stage hasn’t gone all that well. She has made a gaffe or two along the way. Democrats are giving her a pass; Republicans are, um, ridiculing her. Oh, I already said that last part.

Ocasio-Cortez is a freshman lawmaker. She hasn’t developed any kind of congressional record on which to pass judgment. I intend to wait to see how she matures on the job. Maybe she’ll learn the difference between the various branches of the federal government.

As for this fascination with her, Democrats need to cool their jets; Republicans, meanwhile, need to quit piling on. They have enough troubles within their own party to make them squirm.

Try this out, Mr. President

These words likely won’t ever fly out of Donald J. Trump’s mouth, but I’ll suggest them anyway in advance of the president’s next political rally, set for tonight in Wisconsin.

Here goes:

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Before I get into my remarks about the upcoming midterm election, I want to speak for just a moment about the news of today.

I condemn in the strongest terms possible the despicable threats leveled against two former presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and their families, against former CIA director John Brennan, against CNN, Rep. Maxine Waters, and against George Soros, the Democrats’ big campaign donor. I have pledged the government will work full time to find out who sent those explosives to these individuals and to CNN and we will bring them to justice.

Yes, I know I have spoken harshly against them. Some of them have spoken against me. The rhetoric has gotten too heated. It’s time now to “unify” the country. I can start right here and now with this speech.

Yes, I want Republicans to win. I want them keep control of Congress. I will fight for them with all my being. 

The time for denigrating our foes, for sanctioning violence with rhetoric is over. We need to restore a semblance of civility.

And from this moment forward, if you start yelling “Lock her up” or “Lock him up,” or question the patriotism of our foes, I will call you out, urge you to stop doing that.


Do you think that will happen? I don’t either. But you know, I am no longer going to be surprised or shocked at anything this president says or does.

Sure, this is the weirdest president we’ve ever seen. His weirdness actually could produce a stunning rhetorical reversal.

Partisan labels should not elect judges

My wife brought up a subject today that got me fired up. Her question played straight into my wheelhouse, hit me with an issue against which I have been ranting for, oh, many decades.

Partisan election of judges. That’s the issue.

“Isn’t it just wrong to say ‘Wade Overstreet, Republican for judge'”? she asked as we drove past an Overstreet for judge lawn sign.

Yes, it’s wrong. It’s also legal in Texas.

I have not a single thing against Wade Overstreet, who’s running for a judgeship in Potter County. My wife and I are unable to vote in that runoff election, given that we’re registered to vote in Randall County.

I do have plenty of things against the way we elect judges in Texas. My first option would be to go to an appointment process, followed by a retention election. It’s a voting policy used in several other states. The governor appoints a judge, who then stands for retention after a term; voters then get to decide whether to retain the judge or demand that the governor finds someone else.

My second option would be to elect judges on non-partisan ballots. Get rid of Republican and Democratic judges.

I have asked judicial candidates for many years — back in the day when I worked as an opinion journalist in Beaumont and Amarillo — a fundamental question: Can you explain to me the difference between Democratic and Republican justice?

My wife noted with her usual intuitiveness that judges’ jobs are to follow the law, interpret it without regard to politics.

Indeed, one can assess a judge’s judicial philosophy — whether he or she is too harsh or too lenient in bench rulings — without the crutch of a partisan label.

There once was a time when competent Republican judges got the voters’ boot because they were of the “wrong” party in a state that once leaned heavily Democratic. The state flipped from Democrat to Republican about two decades ago. Now we see competent Democratic judges and judicial candidates getting the same treatment from voters who punish them for being members of the wrong party.

It’s wrong. Sadly, it won’t change likely within my lifetime.

Facing an unhappy choice this fall


It’s time to make an admission.

Others already have said it, but I’ll chime in with this: The election this autumn presents the unhappiest choice I’ve ever faced since I voted in my first presidential election way back in 1972.

At this very moment, I am not yet rock-solid certain what I’m going to do when I go to the polling place.

Republicans have nominated a certifiable buffoon/goofball/fraud/con artist as their presidential nominee. Donald J. Trump is unqualified at every level one can mention to sit in the Oval Office and make decisions as our head of state and government.

Democrats have nominated someone who is far more qualified — on paper — than Trump. Hillary Rodham Clinton, though, is trying to face down that darn “trust” issue. Is she to be trusted implicitly to tell us the truth when we need to know it? That is where I am having trouble with her candidacy.

Who’s left? The Libertarian ticket led by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, whose signature issue is to legalize marijuana? The Greens, led by Jill Stein?

I’ve already declared in this blog that Democrats have gotten my vote in every presidential election. The first presidential ballot I ever cast, for the late Sen. George McGovern, remains the vote of which I am most proud.

I happened to be — if my Marine Corps friends don’t object to my stealing their service’s motto — one of the “few, the proud” to vote for Sen. McGovern. Then came Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon two years later and one became hard-pressed to understand how it was that the president won by as large a landslide as he did.

The next election four years later gave me a bit of heartburn. I truly admired President Ford and I didn’t really feel comfortable with Jimmy Carter. Well, you know what happened, right?

I’ve been comfortable with my choices every election season since.

Until this one.

You can count me as one of the millions of Americans who’s unhappy with the choices we have. I’ll have made up my mind in time for Election Day.

I’ll just keep it to myself.

Likability vs. irascibility


The Hill is reporting a story that seems to define — for me, at least — just how confusing and confounding this election cycle has become.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to enhance her likability. She’s taking selfies with voters and celebrities. Remember when Sen. Barack Obama told her during a 2008 campaign debate that “You’re likable enough, Hillary”? Apparently not this time around.

She’s fighting image woes that seem to suggest she isn’t authentic, let alone likable.

Do her Democratic primary voters want her to become warm and fuzzy? Do they insist that she show her grandmotherly side more often? I have no clue.

Read the link.

Now, for the Republicans.

Likability isn’t part of the formula that’s propelled Donald J. Trump to the top of the GOP presidential candidate heap.

He’s not likable. Frankly, for my taste, he’s not a lot of things: He’s not presidential; he’s not sophisticated; he’s not grounded in a philosophy other than, say, narcissism.

But there he is. He’s leading South Carolina’s GOP primary polls after threatening to sue Ted Cruz over whether he’s qualified to run for office; after saying President Bush “lied” to get us into the Iraq War; after insulting candidates, a bona fide war hero, disabled people, voters, media types . . . anyone within earshot.

I’m not sure what this might say about any possible differences between Democratic and Republican “base” voters. I hope it doesn’t reveal that Democrats inherently are softer and that Republicans just as inherently love nastiness.

But now I’m beginning to wonder.


Time to get back into the game


That was a nice break from the presidential political campaign.

It’s now over.

High Plains Blogger has been pretty quiet for the past few weeks on the goings-on related to the Democratic and Republican campaigns for the White House. The intent was to stay quiet during the Christmas holiday. I had given thought to maintaining the moratorium through New Years Day. I admit it: I can’t do it.

So, I’ll be getting back in the game.

* * *

The Iowa caucuses are coming up, followed quickly by the New Hampshire primary.

Donald J. Trump continues to lead the GOP pack, although for the life of me I remain baffled to the max as to what’s going on with Republican voters. I keep hearing and reading things about how Trump has changed the rules of the campaign. How he’s rewriting the playbook.

The more offensive he is toward his primary foes, the better it goes for the guy. I thought he was toast at the very beginning when he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s heroic service during the Vietnam War. Good grief, the list of insults has grown beyond my ability to remember them all.

But … by golly he remains at the top of the heap.

The Democrats? It’s still Hillary Clinton’s contest to lose (although I’ve never quite understood that phrase; I’ll just use it anyway, because it’s what pundits keep saying).

I’m going to be watching and waiting for Trump to say the one thing that sends his campaign into the crapper. It might not be a single utterance, though, that dooms his weird campaign. It might be an accumulation of things that will dawn on GOP primary voters when they finally get the chance to cast actual ballots.

They’ll need to ask: Is this the guy we really and truly want to nominate to become the 45th president of the United States of America?

If it’s going to be Trump, well, as Hillary Clinton herself as said: Fasten your seatbelts.



Executive orders go with the job


Presidents serve as the nation’s “chief executive” and, therefore, have the constitutional authority that goes with the title.

An interesting graph came across my radar this afternoon. It comes with a year-old story, but it’s still rather fascinating.

Republicans have been pummeling President Obama by alleging that he’s too quick to issue executive orders, that he circumvents Congress too willingly.

The graph tells a fascinating tale of just how the 44th president has under-utilized the executive authority granted to him by the U.S. Constitution.

Take a look at the graph. You’ll see a number of interesting things.

One is an obvious point. President Franklin Roosevelt is the all-time champ at issuing presidential executive orders. No surprise there: He served three full terms and was elected to a fourth term before dying in office in April 1945.

It’s interesting, though, to look at who’s No. 2 in the executive authority rating. It’s FDR’s immediate predecessor, President Hoover, who served just one term.

A Democrat is No. 1, a Republican is No. 2, while Democratic President Woodrow Wilson is a close third.

That power-hungry and allegedly “lawless” 44th president, Barack H. Obama? He’s issued the fewest executive orders since President Grover Cleveland. (I’ll add here that the numbers of presidential executive orders are as of Oct. 20, 2014.)

So, I guess my question is this: What’s the beef with the current president’s use of the executive authority?

Hey, what’s happening on the Democratic side?

Republican presidential candidates are gobbling up all the attention these days.

Have you noticed what’s happening in the “other” party’s presidential race? The once-unstoppable Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking, well, a bit stoppable these days.

Polling data suggest that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who’s running in the Democratic Party primary against Clinton, has closed a lot of the once-huge gap between the two of them.

He trails Clinton now by just 9 points in New Hampshire, according to new data.

OK, it’s fair to ask: Is that a home-boy advantage for Sanders, given that he hails from next-door Vermont?

His crowds are huge. The excitement appears to be real. He’s speaking to the Everyman among us, railing against wage equality and declaring — without equivocation — that he opposed the Iraq War authorization from the get-go, unlike Clinton, who approved it.

It’s still a significant stretch to believe that Sanders is going to be nominated next summer at the Democratic National Convention. Two others also are running to the left of HRC — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Democrats aren’t likely to actually nominate an avowed socialist whose major campaign platform plank has been to call for massive redistribution of wealth.

Actually, of the three men running against Clinton, I find Chafee to be the most interesting, given that he once was a Republican.

But those gentlemen are far behind the two Democratic frontrunners.

How strange it seems to be talking today about Sen. Sanders as someone with at least a shot at derailing the Clinton Express.

Now, let’s all turn our attention back to those crazy Republicans … shall we?