* So, Trump rolls out his (OK, Jared’s) “big, beautiful (immigration) plan”
in a Rose Garden address. Yes, beefing up border security was prioritized, as
was a much more merit-based immigration system. But, no, there was no mention
of the DACA-immigrants status, nor did it reference what to do with the 11
million undocumented immigrants already living shadowy American lives.
But he did express hope in his speech that Democrats
would join him in “putting politics aside” and passing “historic
reforms.” Alas, the same speech had earlier referenced Dems as the party
of “open borders, lower wages and,
frankly, lawless chaos.” Nice inclusive touch.
* Some GOPster had to be first, and while this was
no Barry Goldwater/Richard Nixon-come-to-Jesus moment, it was still worth
noting that the first Republican congressman has now (openly) called for
President Trump’s impeachment. Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian, actually read the 448-page report and
subsequently took exception to Attorney General William Barr for having “deliberately misrepresented” the
findings. “Contrary to Barr’s portrayal,” stated Amash,
“Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions
and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”
But Amash is well known as a (rare) GOP outlier when
it comes to publicly criticizing Trump. The president has already called him a
“loser” and a “lightweight.” So, how about more prominent
Republicans, who are known to be critical, if not belittling, of Trump in
private? That means you, Senators Lindsey
Graham, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell & Co. That means taking one for your
country before it’s too late. And too late could happen before we get to early
* I was among those political junkies who tuned in
to MSNBC’s recent, well-hyped “Hardball” show on location from Northeast Pennsylvania that featured a “Deciders” theme. As in,
those voters who, having voted for
Barack Obama twice, then went for Donald Trump last time. The site was near
Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, now widely, if not notoriously or inexplicably,
known for having boldly switched from Obama to Trump. It helped Trump upend
projections by turning the Keystone state red. It had a town hall kind of vibe,
as it provided a forum for local officials, union workers, business owners, everyday
voters–and one notable ringer, DNC Chairman Tom Perez.
But I’m still waiting to understand why any Obama
voter would vote for Trump. To go from the first African American president to
the one who played the racist birther card against him. To go from classy to classless. To go from
evolving to devolving.
I’ve heard the rationales. Often. Those who felt
forgotten and wanted economic security. Those who preferred a
“businessman” to another politician-in-chief. Those who needed a
rationale for life not turning out better. Those who feared the undocumented in
their midst. Those who wanted a more economically assertive America. Those who
were tired of sending in the marines to problematic parts of the world.
In the abstract, they are all eminently understandable.
My roots–along with Chris Mathews’–are not far from Wilkes-Barre:
Philadelphia. Blue collars don’t get much bluer than a bus-driver family of
seven living in an Archie Bunker row house in Northeast Philly. I get the
populist pitch and appeal.
Here’s the part I don’t get. Wherever you are on the
political spectrum, wherever you are occupationally and economically, wherever
you are on American “greatness,” you still have to do some due diligence and use your brain more
than your gut. Especially on a game-changing, world-altering presidential
election. And if you like the current, positive economic numbers and attribute
it all to Trump, the bankruptcy avatar, then remember that a GNP boost has come
at the cost of an exploding deficit, unsettling trade war scenarios,
environmental degradation, reduced protections for workers and consumers and a
flippant, anti-constitutional attitude.
Were you more impressed with “The
Apprentice” star widely known as an unethical, un-read, mercurial,
narcissistic, pathologically lying sexist than the flawed candidacy of Hillary Clinton, who was at least well qualified
to be president? Did it not make any difference that any vote that would enable
a Trump presidency was a vote for an existential
threat–nationally and globally? Did it not make any difference that you
were voting to install an embarrassing charlatan in the White (Nationalist)
House? This wasn’t Clinton vs. Kasich or Clinton vs. Romney or Clinton vs.
Huntsman. This was closer to Clinton vs. Kid Rock. What the hell were you
thinking? Please don’t do any more deciding,
unless it’s to decide to make electoral amends.
*New York Mayor Bill
de Blasio has given the upcoming presidential campaign something other than
anti-de Blasio punch lines. His contribution–another Trump nickname: “Con Don.”
* It’s been well chronicled how Trump has
evolved–or pragmatically pivoted–on certain issues since he became a serious
presidential candidate. But there is certainly one notable constant: He’s
always been pro-strife.
Trump is driven by narcissistic drama, including the rhetoric of war and
immigrant invasion, points out Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio. “It’s a
game of revving up the excitement and making people afraid,” says
D’Antonio, “and then backing off on the fear in order to declare that he’s resolved the situation.”
* “This season on SNL started in 2018, but it looks like it’s going to end somewhere
back in the 1970s.”–SNL “Weekend
Update” co-host Colin Jost.
* To those Dems who can’t abide a Joe Biden candidacy primarily because
he’s, well, an unfashionably “old
white guy,” remember all your hard-core values. If “Caucasian-male-septuagenarian”
status is disqualifying, whatever happened to “ageism” as a capital societal sin typically condemned by
It’s not a crime against humanity for progressives
to wax pragmatic for the ultimate just cause. Just make sure the candidate at
the top of the ticket is best suited to take down the menace that is Donald
* Trump Tower
Tampa. Talk about dodged bullets.