Category Archives: GOP

The C.O. is Always Responsible

Imagine a military ship sailing in the early hours of darkness near a shore. The Captain is asleep all is quite when the vessel suddenly grounds on a sand bar and tug is dispatched at dawn to free the ship. Who pays the price for the foul up? Whose career is threatened? The Captain. It goes with the power of the position, the captain is responsible for everything that happens on his or her command, period.

So, who is responsible for the Democratic loss at the last presidential elections?

Hillary Clinton. It was her ship, her command, and her responsibility.

Yes, the Russian sowed chaos to assist Trump.

Yes, Republicans used their position in the House of Representative to publicly hound fairly minor scandals.

Yes, the news media chased every leak with the Pavlovian response of a kitten chasing a laser spot.

All this is true and all this was known at the time. It is the C.O. jobs to deal with, and to deal with it effectively. I would further argue that these factors are relatively minor factors considering that Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the popular contest by nearly three million votes but the election is not determined by the popular will but by the state by state arcana of the Electoral College.

The Democrats relied on a ‘blue wall’ through the rust belt to hold Trump away from the White House and that wall turned out to have been eaten away. The weakness in these states was no surprise. Upset by Sanders gave clear warnings that things were not standard this election cycle. Alarm bells and calls for urgent assistance from local politicians and campaign workers went unheeded. Why? Why was such a critical front left undefended?

When I read the book Game Change that recounted the 2008 election I was truck by how much the Clintons, both of them, valued loyalty over competence. It’s my opinion that justly or unjustly the Clintons live in perpetually psychological state of siege. They seem to act as though that they must expect any and all attacks from all quarters and as such their inner circle are chosen as people that the trust and trust if the quality that value the most.

Because they distrustful of anyone not in their tight inner circle they horde power, micromanaging situations and shutting out those who are suspect, and anyone who is not part of the inner circle is automatically suspect.

When during he primary Sanders surprised them they didn’t open up their command to new voices and refused to learn that their predictive models were seriously flawed. When local pols in the rust belt screamed for help and warned that the candidate was in danger of losing votes due to people staying home, the alarms were rebuffed as they did not come from the trusted circle. It is astonishing that during the campaign Hillary Clinton never visited the union halls of Michigan, a state that if simply two more people per precinct has gone to the polls and voted for her she would have carried.

We can never know if Sanders, as is supporters insist, would have won the campaign. What we do know is that the Democratic candidate outpolled the Republican by millions of votes but bungled the tactical battlefield and lost the war


Gravity Always Asserts Itself

As a kid I watched countless hours of Warner Brother cartoons and among my favorite were the Roadrunner and the Coyote. Invariably at some point in his futile attempts to catch the Roadrunner the Coyote would find himself suddenly without ground beneath his feet. For the first few moments, everything was fine, but once became aware of the fact, gravity took command and his fall began.

For more than six year the Republican Party has railed against the ACA and encouraged their political base to view it as an evil that must be destroyed. That destruction has been their premier promise in every election cycle and now, with control of both congress and the White House, it is within their grasp. However, like the Coyote they have discovered that the ground beneath their feet is not what they believed it to be.

Immediate repeal means throwing twenty million or more people off of their insurance. Even if you are not inclined to think of the news media as hostile to conservatives there is no universe where that plays well on the evening news and with number that large nearly every person will know someone who lost their coverage. It will be a painful, personal, and powerful storm of anger.

Not repealing means enraging the base, encouraging the dreaded ‘primary opponent’ that all officials in safe districts fear, and sparking intra-party warfare between the more pragmatic and Freedom Caucus wings.

Repeal and delay, vote for repeal but word it so that the effect occurs two, four, or more years down the road throws a hand grenade into the individual insurance market. What company will want to participate when the market will cease to exist in just a short time? Insurers flee, people loose their coverage, mandate are not enforced and a death spiral for the industry is a real possibility. That means people with deep pockets and political connections will be very angry.

Complicating this terrain is the fact that the President-elect is well known for his lack of consistency. Is he committed to repeal for ‘conservative’ reasons? This is a man who has praised single-payer nationalized healthcare, hardly a conservative policy. And just recently his spokespeople have affirmed that under the President-Elect’s plans no one will their coverage, no one.

They have dashed off the precipice, there is no ground under them save the disastrous and countless distance below, and no one will be inclined to give them any aid.

If they do manage to repeal, without dealing with the very thorny and difficult issues infusing this problem, (Which is likely because in six years they have advanced zero legislative packages to institute a ‘conservative’ solution.) they will have done more to hasten single-payer in this country than any ten liberal politicians.


A Brief Political Post

People who have read this blog for sometimes know that I will post about politics and may have noticed that I have been mostly quiet these last three weeks. It is not from a decision to retreat from political writing or advocating positions but I will confess to still being in a state of shellshock from the results of the election.

However I may feel we had the election and the results as distasteful as they are are looking to remain.

I do believe that we are in for a particularly bad administration. In my opinion we are likely to see worst level of corruption in the Federal government since the 19th century and it will take a great deal of action and vigilance to protect the gains and right of all Americans from the right’s reactionary forces.

That said I have seen quite a few comments comparing our current political trouble with the rise of Nazism in the Weimar Republic. These comparisons I believe are wrong.

One must remember that the Weimar Republic was quite young, born in 1919 from the cataclysm of WWI that government’s institutions were weak and had no long standing traditions to rely upon when challenged. It is also important to understand just how violent and unstable Weimar really was. Not only did they suffer attempts to be violently overly thrown there were nearly 400 assassinations in just three years. (1919-1922) That makes for a well plowed field to grown a dictatorship.

The United States is not in the same conditions. Our institutions are well established and our social scene is quite stable.

Again that does not mean do not be vigilant, That does not mean that this is business as normal. Trump is not a normal president and these are not normal times but do not like hyperbole sway you into despair.

I believe that the man is a racist and has empowered racists.

I believe that the man is corrupt and will continue to be so.

I believe that extreme forces on the right will attempt to undo tremendously important gains.

I also believe that the rights of all Americans are terribly important.

I believe that these forces can be thwarted.

I believe that we are enduring a painful period as the worst forces on the right as die off. (It may be important foe some to remember that ten years I ago I considered myself a Republican. They drove me from the party and I know I was not alone.)

By a real margin the population did not want Trump the wisdom of the American people is still strong and while fighting, while being vigilant, it is important to remain hopeful as we..


Election Thoughts

Well. This was not the result I wanted. Mind you I have serious reservation about Hillary Clinton but I firmly believe that Donald Trump is the least qualified person to ever assume the office of President. But assume the office he will. The thing looks settled and there is naught to do but ride the dragon.

I thought he would never actually run. He Did.

I thought he would never win any primaries. He Did.

I thought he would never get the nomination. He Did.

I thought he would never win the general. He Did.

I think he’ll be a disastrous President. Perhaps I will be wrong again. The future we cannot know and we are living in interesting time.

To me the vital question is why did it go this way? Why did so many – but not a majority and not even the most – people selected him?

We don’t know the answer to that yet. We do not have the data. I caution everyone to wait and try to look around your filter. Do not go for the easy answer that confirms what you already believe. Dig down, question everything, and try to see it objectively. There is a mood in the country that neither the Republican and Democratic establishment have figured out but Trump did. It is vital we understand it

I have faith that our long established institutions are strong enough to withstand a Trump presidency. There may be rough waters and lots of trouble but I do think we will survive this and the arc of history will continue, with fits and starts, to bend towards justice.

The answer we do not know right now is what sort of president will he be? Will he be content with the pomp and pageantry, letting the GOP deal with all the boring details of running a government? In which case expect the Republican Agenda to sail through. Or will he be an active president and with strong idea, his own, about the right answers?

It is entirely possible that the GOP may truly regret letting the bull into their china shop.



Whistling Past The Graveyard

In all likelihood come Nov 9 we will be greeting President-Elect Hillary Clinton, certainly adding the future students confusion as they try to untangle the two different President Bushes, both named George, and two different President Clintons. However 538 is currently predicting a nearly 17% percent chance that we’ll face President-Elect Trump, an outcome I would expect to be disastrous.

There are those who are truly in favor and fully supportive of Donald Trump’s candidacy but there are also a large number of people, Republicans and conservative who wish for his victory while refusing to personally vote for him. A number of those in the latter camp seem to hold opinions that a Trump presidency presents no particular greater dangers than any other presidency and these people I believe are whistling past the graveyard.


The Threat: A Trump Presidency will violate the norms and traditions of our Government.

The Tune: There’s little need to worry as the administration and cabinet will be filled with solid Republicans and they will administer the government in a sane albeit conservative fashion.

The Graveyard: Look at Trump’s campaign. Is it filled with solid well know Republicans and Conservatives? In my opinion Trump staffs his organizations by Nepotism, and with yes-men. Here is no evidence that he will suddenly pivot and staff his administration with people who would dare disagree or fail to do his exact bidding.


The Threat: Trump has indicated that as President he wants to use the powers of the executive to punish his enemies and order US military personnel to commit war crimes.

The Tune: The president is limited by law and regulation; Trump may want to do these things but he’ll lack and authority to do so.

The Graveyard: The wheels of justice turn slowly. It takes time to bring the courts and other checks and balances to bear on an executive. Of course there is impeachment but that would require that the GOP crossing heir base who elected Trump and they show little sign of that sort of courage. (See the Primary) Also while may of these action may be illegal remember as President Trump will have unlimited pardon powers. It is a wholly unchecked power of the office. Between that and the historical precedent of the Saturday Night Massacre I see little reason to put the safety of the at that sort of risk.


The Threat: As President Trump will be a loose cannon, inducing chaos and confusion both domestically and on the international scene.

The Tune: Trump wants tot attention but not the job, he’ll let the real duties be performed by Vice-President Mike Pence.

The Graveyard: Trump’s ego will not allow him to remain in any person’s shadow. Even for the short duration of a televised debate Trump is unable to let any perceived slight go unanswered. Even he that administration started under the leadership of Pence with Trump playing head of state, the moment the attention and respect began flowing to the subordinate Trump’s ego would compel him to act. Once he did so there would be nothing Pence could do to stop Trump and we’d be back in the mud.


Throughout the primary people in the GOP deluded themselves that once Trump won the nomination he would pivot to a more reasonable stance to win the general. There was no pivot because he’s not playing a part, the man presented in the primaries and in the general is who he really is and who he will be as president.


The Critical Question

It looks very likely that Donald Trump will lose the election. Let’s be clear Donald Trump did not take a crazy turn after the primaries; he was saying the same sort of thing throughout the primary race and he won.

More Republicans voted for the man spouting crazy talk than anyone else. The critical question the Republican party faces post election is why did their voters respond so favorably to the man with the crazy talk?

If they dodge this, or write it off as a black swan one-time event they are leaving the door opening for someone more talented and possible more motivated to hijack the process, endangering the party and the nation.




What Does the GOP Believe In?

For eight years the GOP has lectured us that President Obama was a narcissistic celebrity; then they nominated Donald Trump.

For twenty years the GOP has lectured us on the moral failings of President Bill Clinton; then they nominated Donald Trump.

For thirty-five years the GOP has championed fiscal prudence as their watchwords; then nominated Donald Trump.

For fifty years the GOP has claimed as their own the ethic of the silent majority; then they nominated Donald Trump.

For seventy years the GOP has proclaimed themselves the stalwart enemies of Communism; then they nominated Donald Trump. (Who has praised Communist dictators as they murdered their own people.)


When this is over and Donald has lost, and I hope more than anything for a massive loss, they will ignore him and try to tell us this was an aberration, an event, a nominee unworthy of notice. I will not forget. I will remember those who stood on the stage and try to sell us this man because they wanted, above all principle, to win.

My principles are not for sale.


Trump is the Face of the GOP

Well, it’s all over but the crying. The opponents have dropped out and the last man standing for the GOP nomination for President of the United States of American is Donald Trump. This fall we’ll see a contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton, though my past predictions – like everyone else’s – have been disastrously wrong I think this will lead to a massive defeat for the GOP. So be it, they brought the storm down upon themselves.

Make no mistake, Trump won because he bested every faction of the GOP. He bested the establishment solids, he bested the patrician blue-bloods, he bested the up and coming hopefuls, he bested the experienced and sitting governors, he bested the RINOs and the tea party favorites and the unshakable social conservatives. he beat them in open and closed primaries. he beat them with pluralities and majority votes. The GOP voters put choose him as the nominee, He was not foisted upon them by the monies interests, He was not selected by the party big wigs. He was not given a free ride by the media. The GOP primary voters pulled those levers, punched that chad, and marked that box for this man and everything he has been spewing for ten months.

When the ruin falls in November- and I truly hope it does because the thought that he would win a majority of the general population terrifies me – a wise GOP would look at its base and seriously consider how did it cultivate such a voter pool. They created an environment where such a demagogue would thrive and they must clean the swamp to prevent a repeat. I fear that such an honest appraisal is beyond the party as it is currently constituted. I fear that like a spousal abuser they will shift they blame, most likely to the current president, and cry ‘look what you made me do.’

It is a sad time we live in. I’m going to go watch Marvel’s The Avengers.


Chaos in the Electorate

Last year, when Trump and Sanders made their announcements I dismissed either as have a serious impact on the race. Clearly I was wrong.

This is the election cycle of the unpredictable, angry electorate. On the left and on the right there is a great clamoring for change. Now I would still bet against Sanders winning the nomination, the rules are stacked against him and he needs to really outperform, consistently, the rest of the primary to get the delegates needed. That is not to say he can’t Clearly this is the wrong cycle to make bold unwavering predictions. However, the hill is still quite steep for him.

Trump is starting to fall, but not from first. 538’s delegate tracker has him missing his targets in order to reach 50%+1 before the convention. He may get the majority, but it seems equally possible he may miss, but not by much. If that happens and they can’t settle it on the first ballot, it’s fireworks for the GOP in Cleveland. (An early clue may be the rules for the convention. If they are adopted without much fuss or fight, then expect a single ballot to nominate someone, if the rules are fought over long and hard then we may be in for a bumpy ride.)

It’s stunning to think that California’s late primary may actually be relevant.