Tag Archives: White House

Call him ‘Cool hand Joe’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Americans are getting an advance look at the difference in style between Donald J. Trump and Joseph R. Biden.

Trump is leaving the presidency under an air of chaos, confusion, controversy. Biden is preparing to enter the presidency with a cool, calm, collected approach to governing.

Thus, I do believe we are going to be able to rest assured that President Biden will continue this approach as he takes the oath and gets to work on trying to grapple with the myriad problems that await him.

Trump never got his arms around the government. He never understood the compromise needed to legislate, or how to cajole those on the other side. He flew blindly the entire way. Trump used his now-defunct Twitter account to make key policy decisions, to fire Cabinet officials, to tell Americans directly what was on his mind in the moment.

Biden isn’t likely to use that social medium to the degree his immediate predecessor did. Which is fine by me!

What’s more, as Trump prepares to exit the White House, he does so as a two-time impeached president. Trump’s coterie of advisers is shrinking, frightened by his reportedly erratic and outrageous behavior.

Biden is preparing to grasp the reins of power like the cool customer he has taught himself to be. I mean, he has all those decades of government experience under his belt. President-elect Biden is a man of the U.S. Senate, where he worked for 36 years before becoming vice president during President Obama’s two successful terms in office.

Ahh, the difference is a joy to behold.

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.

Biden transition needs to function on all cylinders

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Oh, to be a fly on whatever walls surrounding the meetings that President-elect Biden is conducting as he prepares to become the next president.

The transition has begun officially. It was late getting started. Donald Trump, who lost the election to Joe Biden, dug in for too long after we learned that we had a new president waiting in the wings.

Then came the order from the General Services Administration, the agency that runs the transition: Start turning the wheels, the GSA said … undoubtedly on orders from Donald Trump.

I am heartened somewhat — but not totally — by the knowledge that President-elect Biden is a man of the Senate, that he knows how government works, that he has an enormous network of contacts throughout the legislative and executive branches of government.

Biden comes to the presidency being able to speak fluently in the language that bureaucrats speak to each other. There appears to be little on-the-job training for the new president. He served 36 years in the Senate, eight as vice president. He knows the ropes.

Contrast that with the absence of any exposure to government that Donald Trump brought to the job he inherited when he was elected in 2016. It showed from the get-go.

I do not expect the new president to make the kind of monumental hiring mistakes that Trump made. I could be wrong, of course. Indeed, I am wrong way more than I am right.

On this matter … I’ll stick with my assessment of the new president.

Imagine this happening … now!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The picture you see here was taken in late 2008.

President-elect Barack Obama came to the Oval Office to meet with the man he would succeed, President George W. Bush, and three other fellows with intimate knowledge of the office: Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

President Bush 43 offered his support and good wishes to the new president. All of these men had lunch together that day and the former presidents shared with the new guy some of the wisdom they acquired while making difficult decisions.

I won’t belabor the point, but just try to imagine …

Donald Trump inviting the man who would succeed him, President-elect Joe Biden, to the Oval Office along with the four living former presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

I know. It’s way beyond anything you could ever see happening.

‘We can’t control the virus’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Mark Meadows doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

He told CNN this weekend that “We can’t control” the pandemic that has killed 220,000 Americans and sickened millions more of us.

Really, Mr. White House Chief of Staff? We can’t control a virus that has been controlled quite effectively in nations all across the globe. Has he looked at what they have done in, say, Taiwan? Or Greece? Or Costa Rica? Those countries took the virus by the throat at the outset and have reported a fraction of the misery that has occurred in much of the rest of the world, including the United States.

Think of the idiocy that flew out of Meadows’s pie hole. We live in the nation with the world’s greatest researchers, the greatest medical technology, the most wherewithal to devote to fighting this disease. The White House chief of staff says we can’t control the virus?

What then does this say about the feel-good message that Donald J. Trump keeps offering. Doesn’t he say categorically that the pandemic is “under control”? Yep. He does. Oh, wait! The nation’s top politician doesn’t know what he’s talking about, either.

So here we are. We have an ignorant president saying we have a disease under control when we do not; we also have a White House chief of staff say we cannot gain control over a disease … when we damn well certainly could do so.

May we please banish this ignorance from the White House at the end of Election Day?

Trump endangers his followers

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Certainly long after this election has gone by — perhaps even forever and ever — I will remain baffled by how Donald Trump continues to hold onto his support when he puts his ardent followers at extreme risk of catching a virus that could have killed him.

Trump once again today called a rally at the White House. Supporters were arrayed in front of the balcony from which he spoke. Trump himself might still be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus that hospitalized him for a few days this week; at least he had sense enough to stay away from the fans.

There they were, though. Clustered together. Many of them wore masks. Some of them didn’t. They cheered the Old Man’s lies and invective just like they always do.

And there he was, in all his campaign-rally glory, exhorting the troops to march on as if nothing has happened to change everyone’s life for well past the foreseeable future.

Joe Biden continues to enjoy a comfortable poll lead. Do I believe the former vice president will win this election going away? Hah! No. I don’t! My hope remains strong that he will be able to win by a comfortable enough margin to dispel any doubt that Trump vows to concoct that the election is somehow “rigged.”

How in the world does Trump manage to hold tightly to that 40 to 42 percent bloc of voters, some of whom get to stand in front of him in crowds that defy medical experts’ recommendations — and admonitions?

It’s a mystery. Perhaps I should just let that mystery stand and cease trying to attach a semblance of reason to the irrational.

WH used as political prop

Donald Trump pulled it off.

He managed to violate federal law, flout political custom and turn the White House — along with the Marines on duty at the presidential residence — into political props.

He accepted his party’s nomination to a second term as president. He had that crowd gathered on the lawn. They were generally mask free and they ignored social distancing recommendations. They cheered Trump’s applause lines.

Hey, it’s a given that Trump would lie through his teeth. Not much to say about that at this moment … likely later.

The use of the White House, the Marines, one of his daughters who serves as a government official is a blatant violation of the Hatch Act, the law that bans federal employees from engaging in political activities.

But … will it matter? Will there be an outrage by voters who have seen and heard enough from Trump? Probably not.

This misuse of the White House is galling at every level imaginable. The flags, the Trump-Pence campaign signs in front of our house. All of this while we are fighting a still-losing battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

We aren’t supposed to condone this kind of abuse. I certainly don’t. Donald Trump, though, doesn’t give a damn about any of this. He demonstrates his contempt for the law, for tradition and for time-honored political custom damn near daily.

He did so again with that hideous political spectacle at the White House. As a part-owner of that building, I object in the most strenuous terms possible!

Recess context is appalling

Surely I am not the only red-blooded American patriot who finds the current congressional recess appalling.

Why? Because of the job that the House and Senate have left undone before they shoved off on their lengthy time away from doing the people’s work.

Both legislative chambers — which are getting no help from the White House — have so far failed to provide relief for Americans caught in the pandemic vise. What makes this so terrible, so galling, so appalling is that while Americans are suffering from job loss, the loss of their medical coverage and possibly even their homes, members of Congress have jobs to which they will retain even while they are cavorting through their districts or perhaps jetting off on those infamous “junkets” to glamor spots around the world.

Do you get my drift here?

Americans are hurting because of the economic hardship brought to them by the pandemic. They depend on their elected representatives and, yes, even the president, to help them with assistance from a government that is assigned to look out for them and to provide for the “general welfare” of the public.

They are failing. Who pays the price? The public is paying grievously.

Let me be clear on this point: My wife and I are not among those who are suffering. We are retired from our careers and we live a quiet but comfortable life in Collin County, Texas. We don’t get out much, owing to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 viral pandemic.

Other Americans aren’t nearly as fortunate as we have been.

They are looking for unemployment compensation assistance. Republicans want to scale it way back; Democrats are fighting for more money.

Oh, and Donald Trump? He’s threatening to gut the U.S. Postal Service because he doesn’t want mail-in voting — believing it will hurt his re-election chances. The upshot is to stall any sort of legislation that would assist Americans in need of help from the government during this perilous time.

This is yet another example of disgraceful demagoguery.

Meanwhile, Congress is failing as well. House members and senators are leaving their constituents in the lurch while they take time away from doing their job.

Their job is to legislate.

Why does he want this job?

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

I have been pondering something privately that I now want to share publicly. It is this: Why does Donald J. Trump want to keep doing a job I believe he hates doing? 

I long have believed that Trump accepted the notion in 2016 that he was going to lose the presidential election to Hillary Clinton. The polls had him trailing all the way to Election Day; it turned out he lost the actual vote, but won the Electoral College by a narrow margin … but you know all that.

I do not believe in my gut that Donald Trump likes going to work every day. I long have thought that he detests the notion of answering to Congress, or even to voters, you know, the folks who are actually in charge of matters involving government. He isn’t wired that way.

Trump spent his entire adult life being his own boss. He pushed people around and bullied them. He keeps doing it today. Trump doesn’t grasp the limitations of his office or understand why the framers wrote the Constitution the way they did, giving Congress and the judiciary equal doses of power.

Forgive the psychobabble, but it appears to me — sitting out here in Flyover Country — that Trump merely relishes being at the center of attention. Even when it casts him in hideously negative terms. It’s a form of masochism, I suppose. He doesn’t like being told he’s an a**hole, but getting that kind of negative bounce means he has our attention.

So now he wants another four years in the hottest seat on Earth. How come?

He can’t speak intelligently or with any nuance or detail about legislation. Trump doesn’t study. He doesn’t read. Trump admits to being bored with “presidential daily briefing” papers. Watch him read from prepared text and you well might get the sense — as I do — that he sounds like a prisoner of war being told to read a propaganda statement.

I am totally, completely and categorically prepared to give this guy the boot from my White House. He doesn’t like living in the place he once called a “dump” and he damn sure doesn’t like doing the job to which he was elected to do.