The Radio Right

The hard right talk show hosts that command the majority of political radio listeners, have a problem. The smartest of whom probably understands it.

As Donald J Trump implodes, what do they do? These hosts, led by the Grandfather of the genre, Rush Limbaugh, have made a very good living (do you suppose the money was in their minds) by attacking the hated Democrats, liberals, LGBTQ Community, Muslims and other non-Christians, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barak Obama in a category all by themselves, and others.

But now, confronted with  Donald J Trump, defender of the Nazis, White Supremacists and Defenders of the Old Slave Owning South, they must take a stand. To say they have been wrong about him, to join any, even slight, criticism of his “dance with the Nazis” would lose them their audience, their large incomes even if it meant reclaiming just a bit of their reputations as compassionate human beings.

So far, they have made their choice. As each of his actions, his words, become more indefensible in a civilized society, one that includes all peoples of whatever race or religion, the most prominent  have decided to “double and triple down.”

Defend him to the end and join him in signing off.

 

Will Donald J Trump “Get Away With It?”

Today’s argument over whether George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson’s statues ought to suffer the same fate as Robert E Lee’s statue is silly, really not worth the time to discuss.

So I’ll discuss it (briefly).

All three owned slaves. The first two helped create a Country with the cornerstone that “all men are created equal” and both took steps that guided the Country in that direction. When the time came that a war must decide the issue of slavery, the third man led the Confederacy’s principal armed force fighting to preserve slavery. Does anyone other than Donald J Trump and his hard core followers really believe there is equivalency here…or that cities all across the Country will under popular demand vote to take down the statues of our Founders as they are doing now with the third man and his confederates? Sure, if the Nazis, White Nationalists, etc. were the majority but they aren’t and they never will me.

Silly.

Okay, let’s talk about whether Donald J trump will get away with it (meaning, escape the condemnation and contempt of a majority of the American and World public and quite possibly the removal from the presidency and even a stand in the courthouse dock)?

Sam Waterson, the great actor whose long years on “Law and Order” entertained and enlightened so many television viewers, has written an op-ed piece for the Washington post on our subject. His thesis is that our society is turning more and more toward admiring and attempting to emulate those who appear to “get away with it.”  Waterson thinks that is a bad thing; I agree, although I once got away with something which involved him.

I was the MC many years ago of a charity dinner in New York City. One of the speakers at the dinner was none other than Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the by then defunct Soviet Union. The charity organizers had allotted him ten minutes to speak. I told them there wasn’t a chance in Hades he would speak (through his interpreter) for only ten minutes. We would be lucky if he didn’t slip into his speech about the fall of the Soviet Union which I knew could go on for hours.  Well, I introduced him and he kept it to about thirty five minutes.

After dinner, Sam Waterson came up to me and asked if I would introduce him to Gorbachev. Now, I had previously seen Gorbachev on more than one occasion thanks to my tagging along in the press pen with Ronald Reagan and even had asked him a few questions from time to time but let’s face it, he didn’t know me from Adam. However, I couldn’t let Waterson, whom I admire tremendously, down so I agreed.

We marched up to Gorbachev and I said “President Gorbachev, allow me to present one of our finest actors of stage screen and television, Sam Waterson.” Gorbachev grunted, they shook hands and might have passed a few words (having done my part, I fled the scene). Apparently I got away with playing an “important person” to Waterson.

Getting back to the serious topic, here is the link to Waterson’s article. Since I have not yet learned how to put it on this blog in a form that allows you to simply hit it with your cursor you’ll have to type it in your browser address line.

http://wapo.st/2fOEf7P?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.37670fa8cdab

As to question of whether Donald J Trump will “get away with it,” my emphatic answer is: NO!

And if you don’t believe that look around you: Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame, Richard Nixon did not complete his second term, Bernard Madoff is not still on Wall Street and der Fuehrer shot himself.

Yes, Donald J Trump has gotten away with a lot in his life and if he had been content to simply continue to con the rubes, cheat the workmen, dodge the tax laws and give himself unlimited mulligans as a small-time swindler he might have continued to escape the terrible hand of justice.* But he bit off too much; the presidency of the United States is not a place which allows you to “get away with it.” There’s just too much to deal with, too much to have to handle well when the harsh spotlight of public attention is always on you. And when the public turns against you – as it clearly has against Donald J Trump in increasing numbers as indicated in every poll and objective finding – why there is no place for him to hide and eventually not even a place to which you can run.

Donald J Trump is finished and when it’s over he will not only not have gotten away with it, history will place him in the one category he fears the most: LOSER!

*Plato defined “justice” as giving each man his due. What do you think Donald J Trump’s “due” is?

Delenda est Trump(ism)

It is said that toward the end of his life the Roman Senator Cato (the elder) ended every one of his speeches in the Senate no matter what the speech subject with these words: “Delenda est Carthago (Carthage must be destroyed).”

For some time I have borrowed from Cato and ended each of my emails to a small circle of friends with these words: Delenda est Trump(ism). I add the “ism” to make clear I wish this man no physical harm. It is what he stands for, his capacity to do and intends to do in his high position to our country that must be destroyed.

And How?  By removing him from the presidency by legal and constitutional means and that requires the Republican officials and members of the Republican party everywhere to lead the way.

The Washington Post op-ed writer Jennifer Rubin (who was hired by the Post to represent the conservative Republican view but has deferred to no one in her criticism of Donald J Trump) this morning threw down the gauntlet to Republicans.

” Republicans cannot say, “That’s not us — that’s just President Trump.” They supported him, they elected him, they defended him and they gave him the aura of a normal presidency. They cannot be the party of Lincoln and be the party of Trump. In that vein, we can dispense with Republicans’ “outrage,” “frustration,” “anger” and all other meaningless expressions of internal sentiment. Unless and until they are prepared to do something — not just send tweets — to politically disown Trump, the party is toast and none of its members should be elected or reelected.”

Jennifer may have over reached in her righteous upset (Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake and others have done more than just wring their hands and issue statements of opposition to Terrible Trump Tantrums) but it’s hard to argue with her central point.

It is time to remove Donald J Trump from the presidency. There have been three major efforts to remove a president through the Constitutional impeachment process (I’ve personally covered two of them – Nixon & Clinton) and it’s certainly time now for a fourth.

To simply wait him out until 2020 or until some catastrophe occurs is unacceptable. Under his tutelage the Country is changing in ways that left unchecked will doom our way of life.

The Impeachment course has hazards, the chief one being that Donald J Trump’s hard core supporters will surely push back regardless of the evidence against him. And in ways that we must consider might be violent.

Consider the possible difference now as against the effort made in 1974 that would have surely removed a president if that president had not voluntarily “walked the plank.”

In 1972, Richard Nixon won re-election by a large majority, but as the investigation into his role in covering up the Watergate Burglary developed the facts that majority fell away, slowly at first but over the months more rapidly. People who had voted for Nixon considered the evidence and by the summer of 1974, he had no “base” that would stand for him against the majority of the public that wanted him out.

Yes, then at the end, there was the smoking gun of Nixon’s own voice cooking up the “cover up” with his chief of staff in the Oval office. Today, there may not be such a dramatic piece of evidence.  For instance, if a move is made against Donald J Trump on the grounds that someone who gives comfort to Nazi supporters is not fit to lead this Country it is not certain that his hard core supporters will agree, particularly as he continues to cry that it is the “alt left,” the Democrats and the News Media that are viciously and unfairly out to get him.

However, not acting now for fear of possible violence would only ensure that the violence we saw provoked in Charlottesville will continue elsewhere. And the harm to our Country at home and abroad will continue.

Enough of this “doom and gloom” talk; let me end on a brighter note. And what could be brighter or at least humorous than to call on the King of Reality TV.

The President, red of face, clearly seized by anger, delivered his repetition of his view that “both sides” in Charlottesville were violent and that on the so-called “bad” side there were many good people at his New York residence in an impromptu meeting with reporters. But the last paragraph of the New York Times lead story about that meeting reads this way:

“Soon after Mr. Trump was done speaking, he wandered close to the velvet rope line that held a group of about 20 reporters and photographers, his mood noticeably brighter. A reporter asked if he planned to visit Charlottesville after the tragedy there. Mr. Trump replied by saying he has a house there, and provided an endorsement of the Trump Winery nearby.

Then he disappeared into Trump Bar, taking a shortcut to his residence next door.”

Never miss an opportunity to tout your wares – Trump wine, yes indeed, gotta try it!

Trump Uncaged

So now Donald J Trump who first condemned violence in Charlottesville but said it was violence from “many sides” then, under heavy pressure to name the ones who had clearly provoked the  violence from wherever it came called out Nazis, white supremacists, and other true culprits and now, today, reverted to his original position saying it was, in fact, “both sides.”

What to make of this human being? Well, I have my view but I find so often these days other writers express my view better than I can. And in this case, Marc Fisher of the Washington Post has done it.  He wrote:

“The president’s rhetorical ricochet — from declining on Saturday to name the bad guys in the violent confrontation in Charlottesville to his muted acknowledgment Monday that neo-Nazis and white supremacists “are criminals and thugs” and then Tuesday to a classic doubling down on his original remarks — seemed almost perfectly designed to highlight some basic truths about Donald Trump: He does not like to be told what to say. He will always find a way to pull the conversation back to himself. And he is preternaturally inclined to dance with the ones who brought him.”

It is that last thought that is the most troubling. That Donald J Trump is so unsure of himself, so insecure that all things must reflect his glory, his supremacy, his victory is well established. But it is Fischer’s observation that Trump is “preternaturally inclined to dance with the ones that brought him” that is not only troublesome but frightening. For in this case he is dancing with the Nazis, the racial bigots, the people who would tear down what our country has stood for in favor of their alt-right supremacy. One is tempted to salute “Zeig Hiel!”

We all, particularly the Republicans who stuck themselves with him, look for a change in behavior, think that somehow he will rise at last to the occasion of his office.  But no, that is not in the cards, he is who he is, and if his ability to do such damage were not so fearsome we might feel compassion toward him. But I can’t. Although I have read Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount and find it to be in my view what Christianity is all about, I am not good enough to be able to extend the right hand of forgiveness to this man. The damage he has done and apparently he intends to do to his fellow Americans is too great.

Goodnight and, borrowing from the great Edward R Murrow, Good Luck!

 

August 15 – Manifesto of General Views

To the lost soul who has stumbled on this new Blog site, welcome. As I said in my first post (yesterday), I’ll try my hand at this at least for awhile.

My job as a reporter in Washington was to cover politics, the national government and the people who worked there in government. When I came to Washington two weeks after John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, things were very different.

I grew up in a Republican Household on a farm in rural New Mexico. When I was born we had no electricity, no indoor plumbing until Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” began to take hold. Still, I was taught the traditional Republican values of self reliance, hard work and as little Government as possible.

But once out of the army (I served two and a half years on active duty in Anti-Aircraft Artillery) and I started living in the East I began to see other sides of issues I had taken for granted.  For instance, in the conservative Southwest if an able bodied man didn’t work it had to be (we thought) because he was a lazy bum. Looking at things back East I saw sections of large cities where able bodied men couldn’t find work because of a lack of education coupled with the color of their skin. I had to change my mind about them all being bums.

In those days the two parties contended with their different views of the role of government but in the end usually came together in compromise to move the country forward. No one even thought the right thing to do was shut down the government in an effort to get their way. And both sides accepted that a majority vote had to be respected and if the other side had the votes your recourse was to change things in elections, not then obstruct the majority’s ability to put their victory into effect by any means possible.

A most vivid example of how Republicans felt about their responsibility to work with Democrats was the tense and dramatic congressional effort to eliminate legal discrimination based on race in public areas of the country’s life. I covered the great Senate debate on the Civil Rights bill of 1964, which did that.

Southern  Democrats fought hard to continue such legal discrimination but Senate Republicans joined non-Southern Democrats to break the Southern filibuster (and in those days it took 67 votes to stop a filibuster, not just sixty as it does today). The last speaker before the vote and he spoke to break it was not a Northern liberal Democrat but the conservative Republican Senate leader Everett McKinley Dirksen who quoted Victor Hugo “nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”  On final passage of the bill, all the Southern Democrats voted against it but only six Republicans joined them. That was the Republican Party I knew and watched their members in congress vote the national interest.

Today, of course, it’s almost completely different. I’ve told this little story from 1964, as a way of introducing my views en large. I believe we must return to a bipartisan approach to our problems and we must stop the destructive idea that if I don’t get my way, I won’t play, I won’t co-operate in the democratic process.

When the Founders wrote the Constitution it is said a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of system the Country would henceforth be governed under and he replied “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

I think we can keep it but right now that looks to be somewhat of an uphill battle. Our Country, its Constitutional and moral values , its reliance on the rule of law and of civility are being eroded from the top. I believe we are governed at the moment by a president who is woefully unqualified to hold that office.  And whose willful and stubborn ignorance of so many matters (including the Constitutional restraints on his own power) must be checked and quarantined by all legal and constitutional means.

In making my case through a discussion of his almost daily strange and destruction words and actions I won’t be name calling and if you can beat my arguments with a better argument, well and good. But no one ever wins an argument by name calling so let’s neither of us try.

Thanks for reading this brief explanation of where I’m coming from and why. Soon I’ll begin my regular comments.

 

 

Coming Soon

For fifty two years I reported news from Washington as a political reporter, for the last forty seven of those years with ABC News.

Now, here in my native state of New Mexico, I watch everything from afar. Still, the desire to get in on the action remains.

Therefore, I will soon try my hand at commenting on events and if enough people seem to want to read what I have to say, I’ll continue.  Otherwise, I won’t because the old saying”never quite a winning game” has a reverse.

Always quit a losing game.