Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

What happened to 11th Commandment?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ronald W. Reagan would be an angry man today.

President Reagan once coined a phrase that became known as the 11th Commandment, which stated that “Thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans.” The Republican Party of President Reagan’s era wasn’t always faithful to that “commandment.”

Today it is so far removed from that dictum that the party bears virtually no resemblance to the conservative political organization that Reagan helped reconstruct in the 1980s.

Instead, the nation is watching a party being retooled yet again by the latest GOP president, who is launching a nationwide campaign against any Republican who dared stand against him while he committed high crimes and misdemeanors against the U.S. of A.

Donald Trump is now targeting, for example, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, who had the temerity to resist the Big Lie that Trump keeps telling that the Georgia presidential election was “stolen” from Trump and given to President Biden. The ex-president is backing a GOP primary opponent against Raffensperger, whose only “sin” was to, um, follow the damn law!

Trump looks to take down Raffensperger in Georgia – POLITICO

Trump has taking aim as well across the nation, seeking to destroy GOP politicians who just couldn’t bring themselves to practice blind fealty to the disgraced former president.

If only President Reagan were around today to take the former Numbskull in Chief to the proverbial “woodshed.”

Are we better off? Umm, no!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ronald Reagan once asked famously during a 1980 presidential debate with President Carter whether the nation was “better off than we were four years ago.”

The question seared the audience that heard him ask it. Voters responded on Election Day 1980 with a stunning verdict: The answer was “no,” and they delivered a landslide victory to Reagan.

Rahm Emanuel, a former Chicago mayor and an acknowledged Democratic partisan, asked  that question today in terms of Donald Trump’s tenure as president. The answer, according to Emanuel, is an equally resounding “no.”

Therein lies the reason why Trump lost his bid for a second term, just as President Carter lost his own second-term run 40 years ago. The nation is fundamentally worse off today than we were when Trump took office.

Trump has presided over a horrendous coarsening of our national debate; he has inflicted heavy damage on our international alliances; Trump has governed by chaos and tossed continuity into the crapper; the POTUS has made full-throated lying an acceptable form of communication … and we have the pandemic.

I will not blame Trump for the virus that has killed more than 300,000 Americans. I do blame him fully for the shabby, shoddy and shameful response he has orchestrated. He lied to us about its severity from the get-go; he has contradicted the advice of his medical experts; Trump has put Americans at grave risk of death as a result.

The pandemic is an existential threat to our national security and Donald Trump has failed to remain faithful to the oath he took when he became president.

Have there been successes along the way? Sure. Israel’s relationships in the Middle East with neighboring Arab nations gives us hope for a more lasting peace in that region; prior to the pandemic’s arrival a year ago, our economy was experiencing significant growth. I will not short-sell those positive outcomes.

The pandemic and all the other failures, though, have left us worse off today than we were when Donald Trump took office and delivered an inaugural address that produced precisely one memorable moment: that “the American carnage” would come to an immediate end. Well, guess what. It hasn’t ended.

President-elect Biden has a monumental task awaiting him when he takes office in 31 days. Just as Americans spoke decisively 40 years when we elected President Reagan — who posed what has become the threshold question for all politicians — we have spoken yet again in electing President Biden.

Trump will do what? Declare ‘victory’ early?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I thought I was hearing things this morning. Turns out I heard it right.

Donald Trump reportedly is going to “declare victory” prematurely Tuesday night if the early returns show him leading the contest over Joe Biden. Yep. That’s what might happen, according to Axios.com, which broke the story.

That is weird, man. Totally strange and bizarre. In a way, though, it illustrates a bit of daffy cunning on Trump’s part.

The early voter returns likely won’t have a winner declared in the Electoral College. The winner needs 270 electoral votes to be elected. So if Trump decides to declare “victory” before all the votes are counted, he might be banking on voters deciding against casting their ballots believing that Trump’s actually been re-elected.

Far-fetched? Yeah. It is. There is a strange plausibility to trying such a thing.

In 1980, the TV networks declared Ronald W. Reagan the winner over President Carter early on election night. He had rolled up enough electoral votes to oust Carter after a single term. The polls had not yet closed way out west, where I was living and working at the time.

There was plenty of anecdotal evidence that night of voters walking away from the polling place when they heard that Reagan had won, forgoing their own casting of ballots. The evidence also showed that in at least one key congressional race, the one between U.S. Rep. Al Ullman and Denny Smith in the Second Congressional District of Oregon, that the walkaways cost the Democrat Ullman enough votes to deny his re-election. I watched that one up close as I was working for a newspaper that covered a portion of that congressional district in Clackamas County, Ore.

Donald Trump has a few tricks up his sleeve. I guess this might be one of them he could deploy to deny Joe Biden a victory. For the sake of the Republic, I hope Joe Biden holds a strong lead when the early returns are broadcast around the world.

Not so strange after all

Media pundits continue to make something of a ruckus over the recent political history involving Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris, that Harris roughed up Biden in a couple of debates before she dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary contest.

They’re now on the same Democratic ticket. So I am left to wonder: Why the fascination? It’s hardly the first time political rivals have hooked up, buried the hatchet and locked arms in the fight against a common opponent.

In 1960, Sens. Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy fought for the Democratic nomination. They spoke harshly of each other. LBJ pulled out at the end of that primary fight. JFK was looking for someone to help strengthen him in the South. So he turned to Sen. Johnson. They won that race. Fate, though, tragically intervened when JFK died from an assassin’s bullet in November 1963.

In 1980, former Gov. Ronald Reagan and former CIA director/U.N. ambassador/former congressman/former special envoy to China George H.W. Bush butted heads for the Republican nomination. Bush chided Reagan’s fiscal policy as “voodoo economics.” Reagan survived and then selected Bush to be his VP. The two of them served together through two successful terms.

In 2008, for heaven’s sake, Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden fought for their party’s nomination. Biden didn’t last long. He took his shots at Obama, who fired back at his foe. Obama got nominated and had Biden at his side for two terms.

So now it’s Sen. Harris who’s being examined. Is she loyal enough? Does the presumptive nominee trust her to be a team player?

Biden has been through the VP vetting process. He knows what to ask, where to look.

Harris’s selection is historic. Many have made much of that fact, given her racial and ethnic background. Biden’s decision to select her, though, doesn’t look like much of a gamble. LBJ, George H.W. Bush and Biden himself already have blazed recent trails that led them all to the vice presidency.

Let’s worry less about the recent past between these two politicians and concern ourselves more with the policy positions they share and will take to the fight against Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

It’s game on, man!

What will happen post-Trump?

A critic of High Plains Blogger posed a question to me that I feel compelled to answer with this post.

This critic, a dedicated Donald Trump devotee, wanted to know what I would write about were it not for The Donald’s presence on the national scene. I reminded him that I have written on plenty of non-Trump topics during the past four years. I presume he’s like a lot of us who focus on the things with which we disagree most fervently, causing us to narrow our vision dramatically.

Here is the truth, though, about the future of this blog post-Donald Trump. I am looking forward to weaning myself of Trump-related matters. Whether it’s after this upcoming election (please, please … I hope that’s the case) or after the next one in 2024, I am excited at the prospect of looking beyond the wreckage that this individual has brought to the political stage.

That’s my hope. However, I do have this fear. It is that Donald Trump, as a former president of the United States, is still going to command a lot of attention. He will continue to have his social media access, namely Twitter. I fear, therefore, that Donald Trump is not going to fade away quietly into some sort of post-presidential hibernation the way every one of his predecessors has done.

Surely, some have done so more notably than others. Perhaps the biggest post-presidential tragedy occurred after Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. He retired to California, would emerge on occasion to make a speech, such as when he famously spoke to the 1992 Republican convention in Houston. Then in November 1994, not even six years after leaving the White House, he told the world of his affliction from Alzheimer’s disease. President Reagan bid us farewell … and we never heard from him again.

Donald Trump’s penchant for hogging the limelight won’t allow him to go away quietly. The good news for yours truly, though, is that as a former president he will become decidedly less relevant on matters that count. He will be unable to set policy or issue executive orders. He’ll just be one of the rest of us, using social media to blather on this and/or that subject.

I intend to focus this blog — as I declare in my profile — on issues relating to “politics, public policy and life experience.” Where any of this concerns Donald Trump likely will entail what his successor does to repair the damage Trump inflicted on the presidency.

How stirring, Mr. POTUS

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, so I thought I would share it here.

This message comes to us from the 45th president of the United States, Donald John Trump. They just make you want to stand up and cheer … don’t they? Well, no!

  • President Abraham Lincoln stirred us in 1865 at his second presidential inaugural when he declared “with malice toward none and charity for all” he would seek to heal the wounds inflicted by the Civil War.
  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president and in 1933 told us during the Great Depression that “the only thing we have to fear is … fear itself.”
  • President John F. Kennedy stood before the nation in 1961 and implored us to serve our country, that we should “ask not what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country.”
  • President Ronald Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall in 1987 and demanded that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, if he intended to work toward creating a better world, to “tear down this wall.”

This president has reduced such soaring rhetoric to utter nonsense such as what he said this week about whether testing for the COVID-19 virus was helpful in stemming the rate of infection by the worldwide pandemic.

Yep, this is what we got when we elected this clown.

I am shaking my head in disgust.

Listen up, Dr. Fauci: Trump is fighting you

Dr. Anthony Fauci testified this week before a Senate committee on the fight to quell the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 85,000 Americans.

Then came a series of questions from one of Donald Trump’s toadies on the panel, rookie Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler from Georgia, who wanted to know if Fauci felt tension between himself and the president. Fauci said “no,” that he doesn’t believe he and Trump are at odds.

Then something else happened later in the day. Donald Trump contradicted something Fauci had said about the wisdom of letting children back into school classrooms this fall.

So … yes, Trump and Fauci are at odds. Got that? I want to stand with the nation’s premier infectious disease expert over the bloviations of a cheap huckster who masquerades as president of the United States.

Senators asked Fauci whether children should be allowed back into classrooms this fall. He balked at the suggestion, saying it would be premature to open classrooms to students if the virus isn’t contained.

What did the Carnival Barker in Chief say about Fauci’s response? He was “surprised.” He said Fauci seeks to play to all audiences. He said Fauci’s answer to the Senate panel was “not acceptable.”

Where I come from, that looks and sounds like a dispute between two principals involved ostensibly in a fight against a common enemy.

Where does Fauci go from here? Does he quit? Does he walk away from the president’s pandemic response task force? No. He shouldn’t.

Fauci is nearly 80 years of age. He has worked for every president of both political parties dating back to 1984, when he was hired by President Reagan to take the lead on HIV/AIDS research. His credentials are beyond reproach. Fauci is an expert on infectious disease and the pandemic response team needs his reasoned, rational, scientific approach.

Indeed, this man’s wisdom stands in the starkest contrast possible to the bloviating bullsh** that flies incessantly out of Donald Trump’s pie hole.

I am one American who wants Fauci to remain on the job looking out for us. What’s more, I am as certain as I am sitting here that he knows beyond a doubt that he is working for a moron.

It’s just too damn bad he cannot say it out loud.

What has happened to the GOP?

I posted an item on social media three years ago that asked a simple question.

What would Honest Abe, Teddy Roosevelt and Ike think of what’s become of the Republican Party? If only we could ask ’em.

I suppose I could add another great Republican. How about Ronald Reagan?

Donald Trump has managed to co-opt a once-great political party. The Grand Old Party has become the Gawd Awful Party under the leadership of an individual, Trump, who came into politics with no experience at any level of politics or public service.

He has turned the party into a cult of personality. It is most fascinating to me, given that he so openly expresses his respect and “love” for another individual who has turned an entire nation into a land full of cult of personality worshipers. Yep, that would be North Korea, led by Kim Jong Un, the overfed dictator who has managed to starve millions of his countrymen, women and children to death while he builds that massive military machine.

The party once known as the Republican Party never would have accepted the word of a Russian strongman over the nation’s intelligence experts, all of whom say the Russians attacked our election in 2016. The GOP never would have denigrated a Gold Star family who lost a son fighting for his country in Iraq. The former Republican Party never would have allowed any politician to disparage the heroism exhibited by one of its own senators during the Vietnam War.

And yet this carnival barker/con man/clown show emcee has gotten away with it. Why? Because the party he purports to lead allows him to carry on this hideous fashion.

Then this guy sits at the foot of the statue of President Lincoln, arguably the greatest president of all — let alone the greatest Republican in U.S. history — and says the media treat him worse than it did Honest Abe.

What passes for today’s GOP stands silently as this imposter denigrates a free press and the memory of a slain president.

Is it right to expect a one-term Biden presidency?

I haven’t heard of anyone asking Joe Biden a question that has been nagging at me for some time.

It would be this: Mr. Vice President, are you going to commit to running for a second term as president if you are elected?

Biden would be the oldest man ever elected president if he wins in November. He will be 78 years of age were he to take office. President Reagan was the oldest man ever elected; he was 73 when he won re-election to a second term in 1984 and was 77 when he left office four years later.

I know what you might be thinking. It is that Joe Biden isn’t as sharp as he used to be, that he is showing some signs of slippage. I am not going to endorse that notion.

However, he already is an older man. It’s a fair question to pose to someone of his advanced years. It is fair to ask whether he will serve only a single term, which makes his selection as vice president even more critical.

Politically speaking, it would be foolish for any presidential candidate to say while campaigning for the office what he or she intends to do if elected. Indeed, it might not even be wise politically for a president to state his or her second-term intentions early in a first presidential term. Doing so would bestow lame-duck status immediately on the incumbent.

None of this should preclude a journalist from posing an admittedly difficult question of a major-party candidate for president. It then falls on the candidate — in this instance, Joe Biden — to offer an adroit answer that keeps us guessing at least while he is running for the office.

As the presumptive Democratic Party nominee scours the landscape for a running mate, it becomes imperative that whoever he picks is ready to assume the presidency … or will commit to campaigning for it in 2024.

Whatever happened to the Republican Party?

Oh, yoo-hoo! Are you out there, somewhere, Republican Party members, folks who once stood for principles that appear to have been vanquished and trampled asunder in this Age of Donald John Trump?

I have been looking for those folks for some time. To no avail, I am afraid to admit. You remember how those good folks. If not, I’ll offer a reminder.

I think of the Republicans of 1980 and those of 1994. They presented candidates and platforms that represented a specific ideology and point of view.

The Grand Old Party in 1980 was led by a former B-movie actor-turned California governor, Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan. Gov. Reagan became the Republican nominee that year. He and his party then proceeded to savage President Jimmy Carter because he had the temerity to stand watch while the federal budget ran a deficit of $43 billion in that election year.

Fort-three billion bucks, man! Why, you’d have thought the nation was heading for bankruptcy to hear the Republicans tell it.

Fast-forward 40 years and the budget deficit this year is going to top $1 trillion. Yes, a Republican is now president of the United States. Where is the outcry? Where are the calls for fiscal restraint?

The sound of crickets you are hearing is the sound of a political party that has tossed aside the principle of fiscal efficiency because its members have become beholden to the man who leads the party, the man who before he ran for president had no discernible connection to the party under whose banner he ran for the only public office he ever has sought.

Amazing, yes? I believe so.

Then the GOP of 1994 came and went. These were the politicians who campaigned for Congress on the Character Matters mantra. The object of their scorn in that election year was a Democratic president who had been elected two years earlier despite allegations of womanizing. Bill Clinton won the 1992 election and then two years later, the GOP — led by a House backbench flamethrower named Newt Gingrich — set about campaigning on the Character Matters platform.

Republicans won control of both congressional houses that year, then sought the impeachment of President Clinton, ostensibly after seeking the goods on a scandal called Whitewater, a real estate deal that caught the GOP’s attention. The probe ended up producing a tawdry relationship between the president and a White House intern. Clinton took an oath to tell the truth to a grand jury, then he lied to jurors. Perjury! Clinton broke the law! Then he got impeached. He stood trial and was acquitted in early 1999.

Well, that version of the Republican Party has vanished, too. Gingrich became speaker of the House after the 1994 congressional takeover, then the GOP lost seats in Congress in the 1998 midterm election, all while Gingrich was being revealed as a philanderer … even as he was bemoaning the president’s crappy conduct.

It’s gotten worse. The GOP these days rallies behind a president who makes all of that seem like schoolyard frolic.

So, I have to ask: What in the world has become of a once-great political party?