Sunday, April 23, 2017

Re-building or Re-Making the Democratic Party

Whither thou goest Democratic Party? These are trying times for those who embrace the jackass label. The challenge is to step into the best of the traditions of the party of Jefferson and Jackson, a/k/a the party of the people , without becoming a caricature in the process. That may require some adept maneuvering which the new party leadership has not yet demonstrated. 
   The road show involving new Chair Tom Perez and almost standard bearer Bernie Sanders did not entirely inspire recently. Sanders was cheered , and Perez was booed. It was a shaky lift off at best. Many of Sen. Sanders supporters, predominately young, obviously still " Feel the Bern", but it is a tough task for him to transform that passion into one that will build the Democratic Party. Part of the problem is that Bernie himself confesses to being an independent, not a Democrat. That limits his credibility as a preacher for the party. Why join and support a party that he won't join, although he supports Its goals. There is something inherently flawed about that message. 
     And Tom Perez, for all of his Hispanic bona fides and Labor Cabinet Secretary credentials, has all of the charisma of a thin, raspy voiced, college economics professor . In short, he hasn't the looks and the charm of a Marco Rubio, or the passionate persuasiveness of a Ted Cruz type. I think the party needs a better spokesman, but even more importantly, it needs a. convincing message. Just railing against the idiocy of Donald Trump is not enough. 
     In my opinion, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, would have been a better choice. He is young, sincere, charismatic, a good speaker, and he has a message, both personal and political. The Democratic National Committee chose not to embrace the new, but clung instead to the old, and its slip is showing as a result. And the decision to continue Nancy Pelosi in the House as Democratic leader may have been  an appropriate recognition of her leadership skills, but it is still viewed by many as a throwback to the old guard, Hillary, etc.
   If the Democrats are serious about taking 
back the House in 2018, they have to provide some new leadership and a new message. Criticizing the "do nothing Republican Congress" will help, but something positive is needed. 
     Sending Vice-Chair Keith Ellison out on the hustings with Bernie Sandra was not much better than Perez, although at least he wasn't booed. We still need to do better. Enlisting grass roots elected officials like Mayors,  who have connectivity with their constituents is a good idea. Developing a concise pithy message is even more important. I always tried to explain the difference between the two parties this way to my college aged government students.: 
Republicans say, " I've got mine...go get your own", while Democrats say, "I've got mine, can I help you get yours?" Therein lies the difference in the approach of the two parties, in a nutshell. Back in the Clinton days, the message we were told to convey, as Surrogate Speaker's, was a three worded one: " Opportunity, Responsibility, Community." Ensure opportunity, promote responsibility and develop as a community. It worked out pretty well back then. 
   But today, we Democrats need a new slogan. Something that gets right to the heart of the matter. So , the slogan could be " Republicans have got theirs...Democrats will help you get yours...and keep it. " I think that works. What do you think? 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Acute case of Trumpitis?

Donald Trump makes me sick. Literally. I finally figured that out , but I am still looking for the cure. So far, it is elusive. I have been hospitalized twice since the Trump inauguration, first, with a very bad case of bronchitis, and then a couple of weeks later with a bad reaction to blood thinning medication which I have been taking for a newly diagnosed A Fib condition. Until now, I have had no problems with my heart. In fact,  I have been the picture of health. Granted,  I just turned seventy, and maybe some chickens have come home to roost, but I largely blame Trump for my current problems. 

   I am having a vey difficult time reconciling my long term respect for our institutions of government, and the utter joke it is now becoming under Trump. I taught high school social studies for several years, and in later years, American government courses at the college level, and always tried to instill in my students a basic respect for our values and our institutional set of checks and balances. But the current state of affairs  leaves me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and my search for a corrective bromide has been so far,  elusive. Every time I turn on the news, it only gets worse. Watching the cartoon channel can only go so far. The news has become like
 " This day in crazy...". I only wish I could summon the ostrich like properties of the Republican leadership in Congress, and stick my head in the sand with them, but there doesn't appear to be enough sand In the sandbox to cover the multitude of craziness with which we have been besieged since Donald Trump ascended what he appears to think is a throne. So Donald Trump being the cause of all my recent maladies is as plausible a theory as the one Trump ascribes to that his predecessor had his "wires tapped" and is a bad, nasty guy. 
   I was in a restaurant in Venice,  Florida the other night listening to an Irish piano bar singer who was quite entertaining. It was a welcome respite, until he ended the evening by passing out small American flags for the crowd to waive as he sang Lee Greenwood's " Proud to be an American". The lead waitress grabbed my hand and made me lead a conga line to a George M. Cohan medley of "it's a grand old flag". 
     Ordinarily, I am happy to engage in unabashed flag waving, but for some reason, I had very mixed feelings about this conga line and felt compelled to sit down after two rounds around the restaurant. I just don't feel like celebrating the current state of affairs, and the direction our new President has taken the country in. My flag is becoming unfurled, and that's not good. 
    I don't want to cheer on anti immigrant round ups and Mexican wall building, and I refuse to praise Vladimir Putin. I also think the press has a legitimate right to hold this or any administration accountable, and that our first amendment rights are sacrosanct. 
   So until sanity is somehow restored to our government, I am going to channel my inner Yankee Doodle Dandy in a different way. I am going to try to heal myself, and start by erecting a " Gardol" shield around my news consumption. Maybe I still can't flip the channel, but I can at least turn down the volume. Or even better, put on my headphones while I walk the treadmill  at the gym and listen to The Bee Gees " Stayin' alive!" Right now that appeals to me a lot more than Lee Greenwood.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fast and loose with the Facts

Insecurity, narcissism and ignorance is on parade almost daily at the White House. It is very scary, because when the President speaks, it has historically been vetted and fact checked, and that is not the case with Trump. He lies and exaggerates with reckless abandon, undermining the credibility of the Presidency, and the credibility of America in general. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Follow the Russian money to Trump! He say has has no deals " in" Russia... translate that to I have deals with Russian oligarchs and their money which they have invested i my properties.

Here is an important article which explains why this scandal i not going away anytime soon:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Resist American, Resist!

The politics of blame and shame.

I am sure you may have noticed, but just in case you missed it, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, positive about Donald J. Trump's message. Even his signature slogan, "Make America great again! " is perjorative. It implies that something insidious was afoot over the last several years which somehow derailed the greatest nation on earth from its lofty perch, and he and only he can fix it. Nonsense. Unless he has a foil, he has nothing to say. Unless he is pitted against some adversary, real or imagined, the Donald is a rhetorically windless bag of bloviation and self adulation. 
    He does not operate based upon any sound ideological footing, nor does he seek to implement a comprehensive well thought out agenda. He is totally reactionary and his end game is pointed in only one direction: winning, at whatever the cost. And that, for the American people is not a good thing. We have always labored under the assumption that our nation has a moral compass, and that we have ideals which we are striving to achieve. Trump has shred bare those ideals and left us with a philosophy of me first, self aggrandizement that seems to have no limit. 
    Somehow we need to collectively abandon this detour he has put us on, and reassert our pride, our values, and the essential goodness of America, before he drives this country into a very deep ditch, or even worse, off a cliff from which we will have no parachute to insure a safe landing. We must be vocal and vigil, and anything but silent in the process of this resistance. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of our country. We must form a resistance and stick to it. Only then will this mighty shroud crumble. If we stay strong and fight for our beliefs, this too shall pass, sooner rather than later. America must stand up and confront this bully at every turn. It is the only way we can maintain our freedom and dignity.  We are beyond " Give him a chance, he's new." He is not going to change, so we must. Resist, America, resist! 

Monday, February 20, 2017


Being able to effectively use self deprecating humor is the sine qua non of any successful President. Trump's problem, among others, is that he has none. He cannot poke fun at himself. Any slight, real or imagined is a serious threat to his virility. He has virtually no sense of humor. He doesn't drink, so he's not going to mellow out after a few beers, and he has no intellectual curiosity. He does not read books or briefing papers, which is why he winds up quoting Fox TV sound bytes as reality. This is not going to change. That's the bad news. The good news? I don't see any yet. 
Stupid is as stupid does. Just as Forrest Gump. As each day goes by, it is increasingly. Lear that our new President is limited and /or handicapped, emotionally, and intellectually. He does not read books. He reacts off the cuff to the last thing he sees in cable news programs ( e.g. Sweden) , and he brags as naseum about how special he is and how much he has done, often ignoring the facts and simply fabricating stuff out of whole cloth. This, to say the least. Is very unpresidential. Starting today, this blog will take on Trump and his braggiodocious comments, as well as his actions. We must all be vigilant, lest we lose our democracy.
New editorial policy--

 As most of my friends know, I am very vocal when it comes to my political views, and the recent installation in office of our 45th President has only heightened that reality. That being said, I don't want my Facebook postings to be a continuing screed against Trump. There are lots of other topics to pay attention to,  and that are deserving of comment. His constant barrage of baloney deserves separate and distinct treatment. So, from now on, I will attempt to restrict my posts about anything Trump related to my political blog: . I will post a link on FB to my blog. However, I will not post the comment on FB. The reader will have a choice to click or ignore. 
    I will need to change my blog to achieve this, so, instead of posting full blown essays, I will be posting shorter dissertations of a paragraph or two instead. This should provide more content to those who seek to follow political commentary. It will become a chattier , less formal opinion site, and hopefully engender comment from others.