House Speaker John Boehner shocked the political world by announcing his resignation from Congress.
In the short term the Very Smart People say this means he can pass a Continuing Resolution with mostly Democratic votes, as he gives the finger to the Brownshirt Caucus.
In the long term? Who will the GOP rally around as Speaker? The fact is, every other House leader is worse than Mr. Boehner ideologically. I joked that I looked forward to Speaker Louie Gohmert. But that’s a jest with a barb of truth in it.
Yesterday, Jorge Ramos of Univision was unceremoniously escorted out of a Donald Trump press conference by one of the Hair’s goons, for daring to ask a question “out of turn”. Trump told Mr. Ramos to “sit down”, and then to “go back to Univision”. (I guess even The Hair wasn’t prepared to say “go back to Mexico, you wetback.”) Our brave press corps… did nothing. Journalists of conscience would have gotten up en masse and walked out right behind Mr. Ramos. I’m old enough to remember when the good and the great of the major media outlets rallied around Fox News when President Obama took off the gloves with them. Imagine if Pres. Obama had done something like this at one of his campaign press conferences, or, heaven forbid, at a presidential one. Calls for his impeachment would be hurling in 72 point type on newspapers and from well-coiffed news anchors.
However, even though I was going to write at length about this contretemps, I realized that the expulsion of Mr. Ramos is not the story. It is a mere manifestation of a much darker reality.
I mocked Trump (I refuse to be polite and call him “Mr.”). I thought he was the greatest thing to happen to Democrats since Dan Quayle. And, if by some malfeasance he does manage to be the GOP nominee, he lost the general election yesterday. The image of the Latino Walter Cronkite being frog-marched out of a press availability will galvanize the Latino community like nothing else. Not because Latinos are celebrity-mongers who will rally around Mr. Ramos, but because he and his treatment represent what Latinos fear the most from the GOP. Trump just handed the Latino community the symbol it needed, in a way which even his outrageous words didn’t.
But I’m no longer mocking him. I’m taking him very seriously. Because what may have begun as a lark is no longer that. It’s obvious that Trump is taking this campaign to heart, and is in it to win. And that should give everyone a good scare.
President Obama invoked the memory of Iraq in his latest speech on the Iranian nuclear deal. “Now, when I ran for president eight years ago as a candidate who had opposed the decision to go to war in Iraq, I said that America didn’t just have to end that war,” Obama told a crowd at American University in Washington DC. “We had to end the mindset that got us there in the first place.”
As the president’s term winds down, the Iran deal will largely be what defines his foreign policy legacy just as Bush’s was defined by the 2003 Iraq invasion. Obama has taken flak from critics on his policies concerning Iraq and Syria, and while the Iran deal has also faced criticism from the right and Israel it has also found widespread support among former U.S. ambassadors to Israel and Israeli security chiefs.
Alice Ollstein: GOP Debate Spends Less Than A Minute On Police Violence And Black Lives Matter
Though the first GOP debate took place in Cleveland, a city rocked by police violence against its African American residents, only one candidate had to speak to the problem: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The Fox News moderators asked Walker how to address the problem of “overly aggressive police officers targeting young African Americans,” noting that some call it “the civil rights issue of our time.” Yet
Walker’s only response was advocating for proper training for law enforcement, particularly when it comes to use of force. He then called for showing those who step over the line that “there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same in America,” Wisconsin already had the some of the worst racial disparities in the country when he took office, but it has gotten much worse under his tenure. Soon after taking office, he defunded a program that tracked the race of people stopped by police, even though black residents of Madison’s Dane County were found to be 97 times more likely to go to jail for a drug crime than a white resident.
President Barack Obama listens during a health care reform meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on Aug. 7, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
WDH.com: Obama Heading For Martha’s Vineyard Vacation A Day Early
President Barack Obama is returning to his summer vacation spot of choice, the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard, a day earlier than originally planned for more than two weeks of hoped-for rest. He is leaving the White House on Friday afternoon with his wife, Michelle, and teenage daughters Malia and Sasha, instead of on Saturday as initially planned. Last year, he was forced to break his self-imposed vacation silence several times and appear before news cameras to address political developments in Iraq, the beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants and violent protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri,
following the fatal shooting of an unarmed, 18-year-old black man by a white police officer. He also returned to the White House in the middle of last year’s vacation. There are no plans for a similar trip before Obama returns to Washington on Aug. 23. The president heads to Martha’s Vineyard following a recent string of legal and legislative victories on trade, health care and gay marriage. Last month, he announced that the U.S. and five other world powers had reached a deal to grant Iran relief from crippling economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
It wasn’t so long ago that the Very Serious People were saying that Donald John Trump was a flash in the pan. He wasn’t serious. He’d fade away in a week. Huffington Post even famously averred that it would cover The Donald’s sham of a campaign only on its entertainment section. Because politics is a serious business, and has no time for the shenanigans of a one-time reality show star and serial abuser of bankruptcy laws.
He didn’t go away, however. He impugned Sen. John McCain’s heroism, saying he preferred heroes who didn’t get captured. Horror! Fie on you, sir! Mexican immigrants are fair game; St. John of McCain, however, is an entirely other matter. Surely this would sink the Donald, and the establishment candidates could go back to fellating the Koch Brothers in turn to gain the vaunted signet ring.
Funny thing; Mr. Trump’s lead increased after his intemperate words about Sen. McCain. They increased after he trolled Lindsey Graham by disclosing his mobile number at a speech. He just keeps getting YOOOOOOOOOOOOGE.
Part of being a librarian is that you talk. You talk a lot. Much like bartenders and taxi cab drivers, people unburden themselves to you. You become part priest, part counselor, part sounding board.
One of my patrons is a very good man named Keith. I met him years ago when he would come in every weekend and ask how President Obama was doing in the Gallup polling. For several weeks I would perform this task, trying to figure out if he was happy or saddened by his sub-50% numbers. I don’t quite remember how we outed each other, but we discovered that we were kindred souls in our admiration for this president, and have been fast friends since.
He came into the library this week, and as usual, he sat down at the reference desk and we began our kaffeeklatsch, sans the coffee. Our conversations range widely, but politics are always the center of them.
Of course, we were over the moon over the wonderful week we and the President had with ACA and marriage equality. And then the conversation turned to that buffoon, Donald Trump.
“I can’t believe that Trump is doing so well in the polls,” he said.
“I can. He’s the only GOP candidate who’s not hiding his racism. He’s speaking to the GOP program.”
“Oh, now, you don’t really believe that GOP leaders are racist, do you?”
“Of course I do. Look at their utterances.”
“But the intelligentsia is horrified at what Trump is doing.”
“Look Keith, here’s the thing: in their heart of hearts, the ‘smart people’ might be aghast at the naked racism of the base. But, since Nixon, they made the calculation that kowtowing to that racism was the only way they could even hope to stand against the Democrats. And now, after 50 years, they have nothing else. No Republican can win a primary without pandering to that racism. And Democrats won’t let the survivor run away from what he had to do to secure the nomination.”