Archive for January, 2019

Dems have the hard road

Author: admin

The national political air is full of 2020 talk these days. For both parties.

Ohio Governor John Kasich seems ready to formalize his run against Trump. Jump in early, suck up media attention but, more importantly, get into the pockets of Republican fat cats. Wise move. To some extent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is doing the same with Dems.

The GOP field to take on Trump will be small. But, Democrats are coming out of the trees to float their names around. And that’s healthy. Shake out all the contenders, give ‘em their head and see who’s left by convention time. Like Republicans, they’re looking for big bucks because 2020 will be the most expensive fray ever. It’s also guaranteed to be the dirtiest race in our long history of presidential elections.

Several factors are concerning about all this. The first is Trump himself. Short of being in the slammer by then, when the Muller report comes out – and it will despite expected Republicans all-out effort to stop it – Trump’s immediate fate will be an open question.

Those disclosures will damage him. Whether it sinks his political future, we don’t know today. But, even if he escapes the crossbar hotel in the short term, he’ll still be damaged goods. We don’t know how the Muller results will play with Trump’s vaunted base. Safe to say, there’ll likely be some erosion.

The second concern is, if Trump’s in the race, which is nearly certain despite investigations and trials, and the Democrats decide on a woman candidate. The rest of us see nothing wrong with that. But, as he’s proven in the past, Trump will attempt to savage her. His previous attacks on Hillary Clinton and Warren guarantee a name-calling, how-she-looks-and-dresses, character assassination tirade. He doesn’t like or respect talented women professionals. Except Stormy.

Based on his previous treatment of women, a campaign based on issues will be completely overshadowed by sexually bigoted vitriol. Which the media will repeat ad nauseam.

A third danger is one I hear too many Democrats and “talking heads” repeating. Dems need “someone who can win.” Forget qualifications. Ignore the lack of experience and other necessary credentials. “We need someone who can win.”

Remember 2016? Trump ran against about the most qualified and experienced woman on the planet. A sure winner, right? And what did we get? A non-experienced, definitely unqualified male. Determining “who can win” in advance of actual voting has repeatedly been proven very difficult. Oh, there’s the occasional nutcase candidate everyone knows will lose. But, that’s rare.

Many of the names Democrats are bandying about at the moment clearly lack the necessary experience and breadth of knowledge we want to see in the White House. On that list, I’d put Harris, O’Rourke, Booker, Castro, Swalwell, Gabbard, Bloomberg and Inslee. Pick one with firsthand experience in foreign affairs, military, international economics and proven diplomatic skills. Good people but in need of a broader knowledge of – and experience in – such things.

The short list of very qualified Democrats, at least to me, has the names Biden and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown. Especially Biden whose long history in the Senate not only includes the above requirements, but also professional – and in some instances – personal relationships with many world figures. In his own long tenure, Brown has had various committee posts that have proven invaluable. He’s also a low-key, soft-spoken thinker – good skills in themselves.

I’m not proposing Biden or Brown be presidential candidates; only pointing out the kind of well-rounded background a suitable nominee ought to have. Biden comes with his own negatives including a case of plagiarizing in the ‘70’s which Trump would use as a political club.

The “someone-who-can-win” approach is a dangerous one. All recent presidents have acknowledged it’s not a “learn-on-the-job” situation. And, regardless of previous political background, they’ve also found the actual conditions of being president were much different from what they expected.

!n 2020, Republicans seem stuck with what they have. Democrats face a much harder path. The “who-can-win” argument versus someone with the all-important experience and knowledge necessary in a good president.

Right now it’s all talk and speculation. But, when the bell rings, Democrats had better have the right man. Or woman. Or both.

I was raised in an old line Republican home and voted that way much of my life. Richard Nixon brought an end to that, even before Watergate. Amazing how corruption and outright criminality can change a guy’s voting habits. Permanently.

So, I came late to the ways of the donkey party. Though that happened some 45 years ago, I still don’t understand their near-suicidal politics. From the grassroots up, Democrats are a bitchy, noisy, disorganized and oft-times self-defeating bunch.

While a lot of Dems are tooting their own horns and clinking champagne glasses over their House of Representatives wins, some of the old negative ways are already intruding.

They’ve got a right to celebrate and be a little daffy. For a few days. The November change from minority to majority was an uphill slug against every mean trick Republicans threw at them. Gerrymandering, massive voter disqualifications, lies in advertising about nearly any subject, and fraud on a massive scale. We’ve never seen such political arrogance and deceit in a modern election.

But, that was then and this is now. As the late Cecil Andrus used to say, “It’s a whole lot easier standing outside the circle throwing spears than to be inside that circle trying to catch ‘em.”

Democrats need to settle down and start to govern. Oh, in the first few hours, they passed some “feel good” bills that will die aborning on Mitch McConnell’s office floor. What Dems did was send a message home to voter supporters that they “heard” them and are trying to make good on some campaign promises. “Promises made-promises kept” and all that.

That’s not governing. To govern successfully, you need to carefully examine the political playing field and figure out what the real issues are – the ones that need work first. And the ones you can get passed through the Senate and signed by our out-of-control President. Otherwise, you’re spinning your wheels and acting like Republican lite.

The most important key to accomplishing that is the new Speaker of the House – Ms. Pelosi. No one in that body has more experience, more legislative talent, a better understanding of political clout and how to use it. No one. She’s also the biggest Republican target. The Capitol Hill market for Pelosi lookalike voodoo dolls can’t keep up with the GOP demand.

But, she’s an old warrior. Lots of battle scars from old political battles. She knows how to throw a legislative punch and how to take one while staying on her feet. She’s also got some other deeply experienced old soldiers in key spots to help run the gauntlet. Given her head, House Democrats have got a helluva leadership team.

Still, some in the Dem freshman class are acting like spoiled – and very inexperienced – children. With assistance from our national “show business “media, some are “performing” more like celebrities than legislators. Others thought it would be cute to vote for someone other than Pelosi in the speakership race. Ten of ‘em. A few even posted media notices of their idiocy.

And we’ve got one who wants to play tit-for-tat with her GOP critics by making in-your-face videos like a hooker on a porn site. She’s also publically pouting because her “pie-in-the-sky” legislative wants aren’t going to be the first order of business.

Governing – and doing it right – is hard when the people needed to pull it off do and say things that distract from what the pros are trying to get done. It’s hard enough with a small majority (235-199) if all the troops are in line. When some want to primp and pose for constituents or personal promotion, it’s tougher.

I suspect Nancy Pelosi, with the grace of a good parent, will let the “kids” romp for a couple of weeks. Let ‘em get it out of their systems. Then, there’ll be a tug on the leash. And, if that doesn’t get the desired results, there’ll be a few “woodshed” sessions. Not that the Speaker will always get her way. She knows she has to keep the troops happy and there has to be some horse-trading. Again, Pelosi knows just what to do. And how and when to do it.

I like the noisiness and disorder of Democrats. Lots of people with lots of opinions and varied backgrounds. I also like the multiple ethnicity inclusion and the “everybody-is-somebody” attitude. All good.

But. Just as our military can claim the same attributes during informal times, when it comes to the fight, the chain-of-command and the orders are clear. Line up and follow the leaders. There’s time enough for individualness. When trying to win the battle, well, that’s not the time and Congress is not the place.