Tag Archives: Tim Kaine

Trump emboldens racists, bigots?

“The president uses language often that’s very similar to the language used by these bigots and racists.”

That statement comes from someone who’s got a bone or two to pick with Donald Trump. His name is Tim Kaine, the Virginia Democratic U.S. senator who got beat running with Hillary Rodham Clinton on the 2016 presidential ticket. Kaine was Clinton’s VP running mate, so you can expect him to think little of the guy who defeated them.

Except that he is correct. Kaine’s comment comes in this period immediately after the massacre of 50 people who were worshiping in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I am not going to “blame” the president directly for the carnage that erupted in New Zealand. It is instructive to acknowledge that Trump’s language has emboldened individuals and groups around the world. These would be the white nationalists, white supremacists, racists, bigots and haters.

We must not ignore the statements of people such as former Ku Klux Klan lizard/wizard David Duke who famously said that he considered Trump’s election as president to be a blessing.

The Charlottesville, Va., riot in 2017 that erupted when KKK members, Nazis and white nationalists protested the taking down of a Confederate statue provides another example. The demonstration produced a counter protest and a women was killed in the ensuing riot when a white nationalist allegedly ran her down with his car.

Trump’s response was to say there were “fine people . . . on both sides!” Yes, on “both sides.” He placed the haters on the same moral plain as those who were protesting them. Disgusting.

One of the gunmen who allegedly opened fire in Christchurch is a white supremacist who reportedly drew inspiration from the rhetoric he has heard from Trump and others in this country and around the world.

To blame Donald Trump directly for causing the tragedy that was unleashed Down Under would suggest that Trump makes his angry statements intending to create such misery. I do not believe that’s the case.

It is not a stretch to suggest that the president needs to acknowledge that his rhetoric has contributed to the toxicity that exists around the world.

Humans tinker with ballots, not machines


Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner has put the kibosh on a social media rumor about ballot integrity.

“There is nothing wrong with any of the machines we use for voting,‚ÄĚ Tanner said in¬†a statement. ‚ÄúThey do not flip your vote. They do not flip parties. Humans do that.”

At issue is a complaint filed by a voter in Randall County who said that after voting for a straight Republican ticket her ballot showed a vote for the Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine Democratic ticket for president and vice president.

Tanner said it didn’t happen, apparently consulting with her colleagues in Randall County.

The maddening aspect of this episode is that it comes in the wake of repeated allegations by GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump about “rigged elections” at the precinct polling level. Quite naturally — and this is of zero surprise — Trump hasn’t provided a single snippet of evidence to back up his specious contention.

That hasn’t stopped — in my mind, at least — the Internet trolls from promoting such nonsense in the GOP-friendly Texas Panhandle.

I’m glad to hear Judge Tanner weighing in with her assertion that her county’s election system is working as promised.

Indeed, about the only way to suspect actual voter fraud would be if the Clinton-Kaine ticket actually won in Randall County.



This next ‘debate’ is going to be a doozy

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Donald J. Trump has taken credit for a lot of things lately.

* For predicting the terror attack that killed 49 people in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

* For persuading President Obama to release his birth certificate that proves he is a “natural-born” U.S. citizen.

* For selecting a running mate, Mike Pence, who did a stellar job while debating Tim Kaine the other night.

* For juicing up the ratings that drew all those viewers to the first debate with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Well, the Republican presidential nominee can take credit for what’s going to transpire, more than likely, at the next debate, when he and Democratic nominee Clinton square off.

Ladies and gents, we are heading for a serious train wreck of a political spectacle Sunday night — all due to Trump’s hideously lewd comments about women that were caught on a “hot mic” 11 years ago as he was preparing for a cameo appearance on a daytime soap opera.

You’ve heard about it, yes?

Well, the reaction has been ferocious. Many Republican leaders want Trump to drop out of the race; others of them want his running mate, Mike Pence, to bail.

They wanted a full-scale apology from Trump. What they got last night in a 90-second video was as much a threat against Clinton as a mea culpa for saying how he sought to have sex with a married woman, how he wanted to grab another one in her private area, how he was able to have his way with women because he’s a “star.”

Did you see contrition in Trump’s face or hear it in his voice as he delivered that so-called “apology”? I did not.

Now we get to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump field questions from votes in this town hall event in St. Louis. The questions will come not only from moderators Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN, but from every-day folks who (a) believe Trump has disqualified himself as a presidential candidate or (b) believe Hillary Clinton needs to answer as well for her husband’s own well-chronicled sexual misbehavior.

The rest of the issues — trade policy, the war on terrorism, the economy, jobs — may be cast aside as Americans tune in to hear Trump seek to defend the indefensible.

Go ahead, Donald. You are more than welcome to take credit for triggering this national debate.

Trump muscles his way into Pence’s big moment


One more thought on what the nation witnessed Tuesday night … then I’ll move on.

Democratic nominee Tim Kaine and Republican nominee Mike Pence jousted vigorously at their vice-presidential “debate” in Farmville, Va.

They talked a lot about their presidential running mates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

But here’s the deal. Trump decided during the event to start “live tweeting” while his man Pence was on the stage.

I have to agree with the assertion made by media and political commentators about that back story. It was that Trump simply is not wired to stand aside and let his running mate do what was assigned to do. Trump just had to throw his own thoughts out there in real time while his No. 2 guy was talking on national television.

Some GOP strategists thought it only showed that Trump and Pence comprise a political “team” and that Trump merely was lending support to his running mate.

Sure thing.

It’s fair to wonder: What might Trump think of Pence doing that very thing during the upcoming Sunday night joint appearance with Hillary?

Pundit class weighs in on VP debate


Some of the nation’s¬†more well-known¬†political pundits have weighed in on last night’s vice-presidential “debate.”

They’ve determined, I guess, that Republican nominee Mike Pence did himself more good than harm and that Democratic nominee Tim Kaine did more harm than good for his own future. Many of them seem to think Pence is a shoo-in to run for president in 2020.

I gleaned from most of the comments that the presidential candidates still must make their own way as they slog on through to Election Day.


I’ll offer this slightly different take, though, on what I heard Tuesday night.

Gov. Pence might have helped Donald Trump — if only slightly — by coming off as the more mature, reasonable, rational, nuanced, intelligent member of the GOP ticket.

Thus, he might have given Trump’s base of supporters hope that in the event of a Trump election — a thought that gives me the heebie-jeebies — that there will be a viable¬†individual who’s able to step in once Congress impeaches and convicts the president of crimes that haven’t yet been defined.

Has the governor wooed any independent voters, or undecided Americans to the Trump-Pence ticket? I doubt it. These VP encounters generally don’t prove to be decisive. We still focus on the candidates at the top of their parties’ tickets.

However, given what we know about Trump’s utter lack of anything involving government or the limits of the office he seeks, I remain quite convinced that a President Trump would do something — maybe early in his administration — that would so anger legislators that he could become the target of a serious impeachment effort.

What might he do? Oh, let’s see. He could fire all the flag officers who would assist him in crafting a war strategy against the Islamic State;¬†Trump could issue an unlawful order to his military, which then¬†would be able to refuse to carry it out; he¬†could impose that unconstitutional ban on Muslims entering the United States; he could forget about a business deal that profited from a government subsidy; he could issue any number of illegal executive orders.

The man is a walking, talking, breathing example of an ignoramus who doesn’t understand anything about government — and he intends to learn about it all while serving as head of state of the world’s most powerful nation.

Mike Pence has given a glimmer of hope to Trump’s followers that they would have a grownup ready to take command once the president is tossed out.

It doubt, though, it’s enough to win an election.

I mean, c’mon. Pence¬†still has to find a way to defend Trump’s horrifying stump-speech pronouncements.

Moderator deserves a good word


Elaine Quijano has earned a good word on this morning after the vice-presidential “debate.”

The CBS News correspondent/anchor didn’t do a great job refereeing the exchange between Democratic nominee Tim Kaine and Republican nominee Mike Pence.

As I look back on it after a good night’s sleep, my conclusion is that it¬†wasn’t totally her fault. She sought to reel in the fellas, sought to keep them answering the questions, she sought to avoid the constant interruptions that were initiated by the amped-up¬†Kaine.

She got caught in a buzzsaw of campaign rhetoric, throwaway lines, talking points, insults and, oh yeah, the occasional policy differences that emerged from the candidates.

I want to echo something I heard last night from the post-“debate” analysis about the best question of the evening. It dealt with candidates’ religious faith and how it informs their public policy.

Both men exhibited clear understanding of faith and explained in clear and concise language how it works for them in their public life. Bravo to them both for ending the evening on somewhat of a civil note — and bravo to Quijano for the question.

As we’ve been seeing, though, in these joint appearances, the media moderators are becoming a bit of a distraction. Dating back four years ago when CNN’s Candy Crowley corrected GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s incorrect assertion that Barack Obama didn’t call the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism, media and politicians have been waiting¬†for future moderators to interject themselves into the political dialogue.

Quijano, unfortunately, became part of the story again last night.

From my perch out here in Flyover Country, though, I believe she delivered a creditable effort at staying above the fray. I only wish the candidates would have done a better job of focusing on the issues at hand.

Trade policy: the great unspoken at VP debate


Is it me or did one of Donald J. Trump’s signature issues in this presidential campaign go unnoticed?

I refer to the issue of trade policy.

The Republican presidential nominee has declared ad nauseam that the North American Free Trade Agreement is one of the “worst trade deals in history.” He has opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA immediately upon taking office next January.

Neither of the two men who are running for vice president, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, talked about trade policy.

In fairness to the candidates, moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News didn’t ask either of them about trade policy.

The question I would have wanted her to pose would have been to Pence. It would go something like this:

“Gov. Pence, you are a traditional Republican. You served in Congress as a traditional Republican lawmaker and your party has been a free-trade party. Why have you changed your mind on NAFTA and why do you oppose TPP?”

She could have asked Pence that question, but she didn’t.

Pence has a long career as a traditional Republican conservative as a lawmaker and as a governor. Trump has no public service career and he has sounded as populist on trade as, say, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

This debate between Kaine and Pence could have helped clear up some of the confusion on trade that Trump has created with his ferocious opposition to trade policy that many within his party have supported.

Let’s bring on Clinton and Trump again


Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are still haggling at this moment. Their vice-presidential “debate” has about another 40 minutes to go.

I am not expecting a “You’re no Jack Kennedy” moment.

So, let’s look ahead to next Sunday’s debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.

They will have to answer the questions that neither of their running mates have been able to answer.

Is this VP joint appearance going to be decisive? I am not predicting that it won’t, but these No. 2 events rarely — if ever — prove to be deal breakers or deal makers.

Clinton’s post-debate “bounce” has moved her back out to a more comfortable lead in those polls that Trump is fond of heralding — when they’ve leaned in his favor. Is there another Clinton bounce coming after the second joint appearance? That will depend if Trump shows up after actually preparing for the questions that will come his way.

I’m just hoping — as I continue to watch Sen. Kaine and Gov. Pence argue over each other — that Trump raises the issue of Bill Clinton’s marital misbehavior as some kind of disqualifier for his wife’s presidential candidacy.

I also am hoping to hear Hillary’s answer.

Let’s flip these national tickets


In 1988, a Texan was running for vice president on the Democratic ticket led by Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

The Texan was U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen. The buzz in the Lone Star State was that many Texans wanted Bentsen to be the top man. They much preferred him to Dukakis. There was some of that feeling around the country, too, especially given Bentsen’s performance at the VP debate with then Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana.

“Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” became one of the signature moments of that campaign as Bentsen skewered Quayle for comparing his Senate experience with what JFK brought to the 1960 presidential campaign.

Well, tonight two more No. 2s are going to square off.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia will joust with Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. They are their parties’ nominees for vice president.

They’re going to make the top-tier candidates — Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton — the issue tonight.

I wouldn’t be surprised in the least that we are going to hear a lot of lamenting when it’s all over from those who wish that Sen. Kaine and Gov. Pence were leading their respective tickets in 2016

Tax returns, Mr. Trump … tax returns


Hillary Rodham Clinton and her Democratic running mate, Tim Kaine, have released their tax returns.

Now it’s time for Donald Trump and his running Republican running mate, MIke Pence, to do the same.


This issue will not go away. Nor should it as long as Trump continues to hide behind some kind of phony excuse about the Internal Revenue Service audit.

IRS officials say an audit doesn’t prevent someone from releasing returns to the public.

Here’s an interesting twist to the Trump refusal to do what other presidential candidates have been doing since 1976: it’s that he has been insisting that President Obama release his academic records at Harvard; he bitched about the president’s birth, insisting that he release his birth certificate to prove he actually was born in the United States.

Now, with the focus on his own tax returns — and his continuing boasts about¬†how rich and successful he has been — Trump refuses to let us all in on what should be public knowledge.

How much is he really worth? How much has he given to charity? How much does he pay in taxes? What is the nature of his foreign investments?

We’ve seen Hillary Clinton’s returns. She and her husband made a lot of money this past year. They also paid a significant portion in taxes. They gave to charity, although most of that charitable giving went to their foundation.

It’s your turn, Donald Trump.