Tag Archives: Republican Party

Washington Watch: BookTV Afterwords- Carlos Lozada Interviewing David Frum: Trumpocracy & The State of Western Democracy

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Maybe Trumpocracy is another way of talking about the new highly rated Washington reality TV show known as The White House, with Donald Trump. I say highly rated and not highly successful, because it’s not successful at least as far as far as how the American people think of it. Anytime 3-5 voters don’t like the politician that is supposed to represent them whatever the office is, that politician is not doing well. 3-5 Americans don’t like the job that President Trump is doing, don’t like him personally, and don’t trust him. He’s in Richard Nixon territory as far as how unpopular he is with the American people. But his new show and perhaps Amateur Night at The White House, would be a better name for President Trump’s latest reality TV show, is highly rated.

You can’t just look at Donald Trump by only looking at one aspect of him. You have to look at the narcissistic selfish gigantic sized personality. You have to look at his governing style, which he doesn’t seem to have at least from the outside looking in. You have to look at his policies. You have to look at his supporters which at this point are only little more than a third of the electorate, but were enough to at least get him the Republican nomination for President. And then you have to look to his appeasement of those voters. The salesmanship to be kind, the con game would be more accurate in how he appeals to blue-collar fundamentalist Christian voters especially in the Republican Party, but ins some cases in the upper Midwest the Democratic Party as well.

In 2016 we saw the John Birch Society/George Wallace/Ann Coulter/Pat Buchanan right-wing populist ethno-Tribalist-Nationalist presidential candidate, but with a personality, as well as great sense of humor and even likable at times in Donald Trump. And yes, Donald Trump is a very funny man ( even intentionally ) and even likable when he’s in small spaces and groups. This is a political faction in America that has been around since World War I at least in America that views conspiracy theories as real news like Vice President Lyndon Johnson ordering the assassination of President John Kennedy. And real news as fake and establishment news. Who don’t trust institutions especially non-partisan institutions like the CIA and FBI, simply because they can’t be controlled by partisans. And operate independently even from the President.

I view Donald Trump as wannabe dictator who picked the last country in the world to try to become a dictator in the United States of America. Sort of like a village idiot who tries to rob a bank with just a leaky water gun at 12 noon on a Monday and wonders what went wrong and how come people were just laughing at him instead of giving him their money.

President Trump knows he can’t shut down the private media because we have a guaranteed free press and his administration simply wouldn’t allow for him to even try that. So he calls them fake news at least when they report negative facts about him. Which is most of the time. He says his entire intelligence community is wrong when they say that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election. He accuses people that he personally appointed as being disloyal and part of the establishment when they don’t shut down the Russia investigation and even expand it when new facts and evidence come to light about the Trump Campaign’s involvement with Russia during the 2016 election. Because he’s smart enough to know he can’t control these investigations and what Congress does by himself. So he instead attempts to make them look corrupt. He’s a wannabe dictator in the wrong country and doesn’t like accountability and limited power.

In some ways Donald Trump is the worst nightmare and horror movie coming to real life and part of that is because he’s now the President of the United States. Literally the most powerful and most important country in the world, the greatest country in the world as far as how powerful and influential in the world. But part of why we’re so strong, powerful, and great, is because of our checks and balances, our accountability. Which was designed in case someone like Donald Trump ever became President. The reason why we’ve been able to avoid nationalist populist authoritarians from coming to power in America and why countries like Russia, Poland, Venezuela, haven’t, is because of our checks and balances. And is something that Donald Trump is learning the hard way.


Book TV: Afterwords- U.S. Senator Tom Daschle Interviewing Ira Shapiro: Broken


Source: Book TV– Ira Shapiro

Source: Book TV: Afterwords- U.S. Senator Tom Daschle Interviewing Ira Shapiro: Broken

Warning! This post is for all of you not just political junkies, but Congressional junkie. Which are people with a special type of mental disorder that is worst than simply just being a political junkie. But for people who watch at least one hour of C-SPAN a day and at least one Congressional hearing or part of a hearing each week. You’ll get no news about what rehab the latest hot celebrity is going to and for what for. Or what shoes that person wore when they stopped for coffee in Malibu.

In all seriousness or as serious as I’ll be for this post, the U.S. Senate is broken and needs to be reformed. So does the U.S. House of Representatives by the way ( the lower chamber of Congress ) and I’ll get into a little bit of that with this post as well. But this is really about the Senate ( the upper chamber of Congress ) because it’s so important as an institution because like the court system and the U.S. Justice Department, they’re the only institutions that can hold the President and Executive accountable regardless of which party is in the White House or what the makeup in Congress is both in the House and Senate. And when the Senate doesn’t operate properly because of either hyper-partisanship or one party in the Senate is simply too divided to act, the country suffers and has to live with the gridlock.

Why is Congress both the House and Senate broken? Part of that has to do with the addiction to absolute power that both the Democratic Party and Republican Party has. This consumption to not just control the White House and Congress, but to have such large majorities in both chambers that they wouldn’t have to work with the minority party, especially the minority leadership on anything. I don’t believe it’s so much the leadership’s in both parties that are driving the hyper-partisanship but the hyper-partisan fringe bases that literally see any type of compromise with the other party as treason and an offense that deserves a primary for that member of Congress or the leader, who decided to work with the other party even on need to pass legislation and when the margins in Congress are close.

Another part has to do with gerrymandering both from the Republican Party, but the Democratic Party as well. Not just in Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, where the Republican Party has successfully if not unconstitutionally gerrymandered all of the House districts in those states. But the Democratic Party has done this as well in California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. It’s just that the Republican Party currently controls 34-50 statehouses with a solid majority of individual legislatures all over the country and has been more successful at this what I would I call at least an unconstitutional hyper-partisan policy.

Another contributor to this hyper-partisanship in America has to do with dark money. Where outside groups can give a Senator or Representative, financial contributions to their political campaigns without anyone else knowing about that. Not even their constituents would know where the members of Congress are getting their political money. As well as third-party hyper-partisan groups in both parties who run adds in a state or district  in an attempt to push the incumbent or candidate to vote a certain way when their issue is addressed in Congress. Or run ads to make a particular incumbent  or candidate look bad and to support their opponent without actually naming the candidate. And these groups don’t have to reveal how they’re funding their political operations and neither do members of Congress.

So what would I do about it? Well like any good responsible doctor ( and I’m not ) before they recommend a prescriptions for their patients physical issues, they first look to see what the problems are and then look to see what can be done about those issues. What I’m doing here is a political diagnosis of Congress, especially the Senate which traditionally has operated and been run through bipartisanship. Where the Minority Leader was almost as important and powerful as the Leader of the Senate.

There are several things that can be done to fix Congress. And trying to make the Senate look like House where the minority party is simply just there to vote against the majority party, like in the House for the most part, which seems to be the goals of current Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, or to try to make the House look like the Senate where you basically need a super majority to pass the most basic pieces of legislation except for reconciliation, wouldn’t work.

The House needs to continue to be the House, otherwise Congressional gridlock will just get even worst. But the House should be more like the Senate at least in this sense. Allow for the minority party under the leadership of the Minority Leader, to offer relevant amendments and alternatives to all legislation in the House. Both in committee and on the floor. The majority party would still not have to work with the minority party, but at least the minority would be able to debate, offer amendments and alternatives, and get votes on those proposals.

Reform if not eliminate the Senate filibuster. Right now even amendments to bills can be filibustered and blocked in the Senate. If you keep the filibuster, only limit it to the final passage of bills after debate and voting on amendments have been completed.

Allow the minority party under the leadership of the Minority Leader, to offer amendments to all bills that come to committee and make it to the floor for debate and consideration. Eliminate the filibuster, but replace it with a tabling motion that could only be made by the Leader and Minority Leader, that could only be offered at the end of debate on legislation. Which would take 60 votes to overrule the tabling motion. Which means the Senate along with the judiciary and the U.S. Justice Department, will continue to serve as checks on executive power regardless of which party is in power and if they have complete power with Control over Congress as well. But the Senate and House as well, would be able to get back to debating and legislating. Offering other ideas and alternatives as well.

Amendments and alternatives to bills, could no longer be filibustered or even tabled with this new set of Senate rules. But either floor manager ( the Chairman or Ranking Member of the committee ) could mark amendments that don’t have bipartisan co-sponsors as controversial. Amendments that are simply design to weaken or defeat bills. And the member with the controversial amendment could appeal to the chair and their amendment would then need 60 votes to pass, instead of 51. But they would still get their amendment voted on.

Eliminate gerrymandering of all U.S. House districts, as well as all state legislative districts in the country. Which will vote out the hyper-partisans on the Far-Right and Far-Left in America. Those people would be replaced by center-right Republicans and Center-Left Democrats. And these Representative’s would then have political incentive to work with members of the other party and even vote with them from time to time.

Pass a Federal complete disclosure act of all political contributions to all Federal campaigns. For all Federal incumbents and candidates, but all third-party groups would also have to disclose under Federal law how they’re paying for their political operations. Where they’re getting their money and have no loopholes in this disclosure act. American voters would then be able to see where their members of Congress, as well as their President, is getting their political money. When they see a third-party political ad on TV, they’ll see where that group is getting their money.

Don’t see commonsense bipartisan proposals and plans ever passing in Congress and don’t expect an approach to how Congress operates like this anytime soon. Not until the U.S. Supreme Court outlaws gerrymandering at least. Unless Americans voters make this an import issue and you start seeing rallies around the country calling for the end of hyper-partisanship in Congress. But if you want to fix Congress, especially the Senate, but the House as well, this would be an approach that could accomplish that.

TYT Interviews: Cenk Uygur Interviewing Dave Spencer- Can Dave Spencer Save The Republican Party From Itself?

Source: TYT Interviews: Cenk Uygur Interviewing Dave Spencer- Can Dave Spencer Saving The Republican Party From Itself?

Cenk Uygur asked Dave Spencer the perfect question early in this interview which was why are you a Republican? With Dave Spencer answering it because he believed in fiscal conservatism and I guess what he would call social tolerance. Meaning you’re not pushing social issues generally other than supporting the right to privacy, free speech, our basic individual rights in the U.S. Constitution and you’re against racial and ethnic discrimination, as well as gender discrimination. But you’re in politics because you want government to work well and to serve the people. Not to try to do too much and just do the basics well. That was Nelson Rockefeller’s Republican Party. Add George Romney and at least to a certain extent Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower as well, George H.W. Bush.

That GOP still exists even today and even in Congress with Senator Susan Collins, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Representative Charlie Dent and his center-right coalition in the House. And even though the Republican Party today is dominated by the Christian-Right and Christian-Nationalists, who believe their America is disappearing and politics to them is no longer so much about Democrats vs Republican, but European-American Protestants vs everyone else in America, including European-Americans who aren’t Protestant. Like Jews, Italians, the Irish, to use as examples. And backing Republicans who share their cultural values which is more important to them than what is the best defense policy, the national debt, budget deficit, the best way to grow the economy, to use as examples.

I don’t know Dave Spencer personally, but what I get from this interview is that Dave Spencer is still a Republican and wants to reform the Republican Party, instead of become a Democrat or try to form some new center-right third party, is that the Republican Party has a history of being a party about ideas and policy instead of cultural values and trying to divide the country based on these so-called Cultural-War issues. And saying they’re the real Americans and everyone else are the Un-Americans.

Based on the presidential campaign that Donald Trump ran in 2016, he should’ve gotten clobbered because only one racial group supported him strongly. But he was running against a boring Democrat in Hillary Clinton who struggled just to get her voters to the polls and thanks to low Democratic turnout Donald Trump is President and not Hillary Clinton.

But long-term unless Democrats just give up on voting, the Republican Party is going to have to become a party about ideas and policy that is a big tent party, if they want to stay in business not get clobbered in Congress, lose the White House and have no shot at winning either back with the current makeup of their party. Dave Spencer’s Rockefeller Progressive Center-Right coalition in the Party, as well as Conservative-Libertarians, is how the Republican Party gets back to the GOP and become a strong popular governing party again.

Guy John: The Open Mind With Richard Heffner- George Romney: On Americanism in 1992


Source; Guy John

Source: Guy John: The Open Mind With Richard Heffner- George Romney: On Americanism in 1992

In the first couple minutes of this interview George Romney sounds like someone from the Christian-Right arguing that the problem with America is our culture, lifestyle, way of life. That Americans weren’t living a moral life or to it bluntly what someone on the Christian-Right would call a Christian way of life. Americans having sex before they’re married, women giving birth out-of-wedlock And then he gets into another problem that he believed America having to do with too much poverty in our inner cities and not enough education for them and the country as a whole. The second part I agree with Governor Romney on.

This interview was done in 1992 and back then America had a large deficit and was just starting to get out of the recession that it was in in 1990-91. Not that different to where America was in 2009 especially in the summer and fall of 09. And he was arguing that the reason why Congress and the White House, couldn’t deal with the deficit was because of special interest groups and members of Congress not wanting to cut their own pork and spending for their districts and states in order to deal with the deficit. He was right about that back then and even more so 26 years later. Our campaign finance system is really a topic for another piece.

The last part having to do with the growth and size of the Federal Government, is really up Governor Romney’s ally being that he was a former Governor obviously ( Governor of Michigan ) and was also both a Progressive but a Federalist as well. He believed government could play a positive role in solving problems in the country, but when it came to economic and social problems that the best government was the closest government to the problems. And Governor Romney believed a lot of these Federal programs having to do with Welfare and poverty in general should be run by the states. Instead of the Federal Government trying to manage social welfare programs for the entire country and all fifty states.

As I mentioned before George Romney represents a Republican Party from another era. A Republican Party that was about problem solving and governing, instead of fighting political battles and trying to destroy Democrats, the Democratic Party, and trying to consolidate so much power with Republican Party. Romney represents a Republican Party that wasn’t interested in one’s religion or personal lifestyle, but the personal and professional qualifications of the people and would they be able to do a good job or not. Not if they’re Protestant or not, or what part of the country they’re from, what they think about sexuality and so-forth. Issues that the modern Republican is consumed by now instead of qualifications and public policy positions.

Deborah Gordon: Governor George Romney- 1968 Interview by Lou Gordon: On Being Brainwashed on Vietnam

Source: Deborah Gordon: George Romney 1968 Interview by Lou Gordon: On Being Brainwashed On Vietnam

Governor George Romney not only telling Lou Gordon that he was against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War in 1968, but that he had been brainwashed. Which is a very interesting point and for these reasons. Prior to Watergate and the Vietnam War, Americans tended to trust what their government was telling them until they saw real information that contradicted that. The Silent Generation is probably the last generation that tended to believe what their government was telling them.

The Vietnam War and Watergate, go up to the Iran Contra in the 1980s, and Bill Clinton scandals minor and major, real and fake, from the 1990s and of course that started to change. If Americans were to believe what their government was telling them, they need real hard information and facts first before they believe what their Representative or Senator, or President is saying. Americans today are more inclined to believe that their politicians are lying to them when they’re attempting to sound factual, than they’re simply just wrong or actually telling the truth.

But why do Americans tend to believe their government is lying to them, or at least not telling them the truth? Go back to the mid and late 1960s with President Lyndon Johnson over the Vietnam War, where President Johnson and his National Security Council were saying how great the Vietnam War was going and that we were winning that the Communist Vietnamese were close to surrendering. When the fact any solider or marine on the ground in Vietnam fighting for America and to free Vietnam from communism, knew the opposite was true. The Americans won the battles but the Communists were winning the war and holding their territory with Americans taking a lot of causalities and injuries.

What Governor Romney was telling journalist Lou Gordon in 1968 about his trip to Vietnam and what he personally saw there as far as the war there, was that America wasn’t wining this war even though that is what the American military and foreign affairs officers were telling Governor Romney is that America was winning. So Romney thought he was being brainwashed by his government officials there which is why he came out against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War after supporting it before.


Andrew Kaczynski: Governor George Romney- 1968 Presidential Announcement

Source: Andrew Kaczynski: Governor George Romney- 1968 Presidential Announcement

I love this George Romney speech because this is exactly what the Republican Party was once about at least, with a solid conservative-libertarian faction led by Senator Barry Goldwater and others. If this was the GOP today, I might be a Republican myself. And this coming from a JFK Liberal Democrat.

Just listen to this video of Governor Romney’s speech. He was talking about progressive solutions to real problems in America like Welfare and poverty, as well as fiscal situation in the country and the need for fiscal responsibility, but calling for progressive federalist solutions to these problems. He and Richard Nixon sound very similar on these issues because they were both part of that old progressive center-right wing of the Republican Party. Republicans who believed that progress could be made with government, but that it had to be limited and the states and localities had to be part of the solutions. Instead of setting up big Federal programs run by Big Government to serve every state especially the people who live in those states. Which was also a problem for Governor Romney because he and the GOP frontrunner Richard Nixon, sounded very similar on economic policy.

Governor Romney arguing for Welfare reform and federalism in 1968. President Richard Nixon in 1969 proposed Welfare reform and what he called a New Federalism. Which was about ( to use a Washington term ) block granting the New Deal and Great Society safety net and antipoverty programs over to the states and allowing for the states to run them. Which was the middle position between the George McGovern McGovermite Democratic Socialists in the Democratic Party who believed that not only should the Federal Government continue to run these programs, but that they should be expanded and that new programs should be created on top of the New Deal and Great Society and that taxes should be raised on everyone to pay for them. And the Conservative Libertarians in the GOP led by Barry Goldwater, arguing that these programs shouldn’t exist at all.

The only real difference that George Romney had with Richard Nixon, had to do with the Vietnam War. Romney arguing that the war was a failure and that it was time for America to get out of it. And there just wasn’t enough Republican voters back then to line up and vote for Romney on that issue. If anything Republicans back then believed the war need to be fought better and that we should go harder in Vietnam. But George Romney represents the old Progressive-Federalist wing of the Republican Party along with Nelson Rockefeller who also ran for President in 1968, at a time when that faction of the party was starting to get smaller.

CBS News: Face The Nation- George Romney: Addresses 1964 Republican National Convention


Source:  CBS News

Source: CBS News: Face The Nation- Governor George Romney: Addresses 1964 Republican National Convention

What I get from this short five minute vision of Michigan Governor George Romney speaking at the 1964 Republican National Convention, is that he wasn’t necessarily against Senator Barry Goldwater and his presidential campaign. But he was worried about the Republican Party moving right and even Far-Right.

From 1964-68, the GOP was moving in transition from a center-right moderate conservative party with a solid progressive Northeastern base that Governor Romney was part of, to expanding the base of the party and moving south as well as west. Bringing in Christian-Conservatives from the South and Conservative-Libertarians from the West. Barry Goldwater was one of those Western Conservative-Libertarians.

Governor Romney and Governor Nelson Rockefeller and other Progressive Republicans, were worried that America wasn’t ready for this hardcore what was called back then conservative message,  but what today would be a conservative-libertarian message as far as Goldwater that was about individual freedom both economic and personal, as well as limited government and personal responsibility, as well as federalist when it came to government. And as a result the GOP would get wiped out in the 1964 general elections which was exactly what happened. And they were worried that the GOP couldn’t compete with just a small percentage of the electorate.

What Rockefeller and Romney got wrong, was that they were only correct in the short-term. Millions of Southern Democrats who voted for President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, voted for Richard Nixon for President in 1968. Congressional Republicans had a big comeback in 1966 by winning in the South in the House and Senate and winning out west. Richard Nixon was part of the Progressive Republican base in California and New York, but being the great politician that he was, was also able to communicate with Goldwater Conservatives and Christian-Conservatives in the South, while retaining his Northeastern Republican Progressive base, to win the presidency in 1968 and win going way reelection in 1972. But the remaking and renovation of the modern GOP that we see today started in 1964. Romney and Rockefeller, were wrong about the long-term affects that moving right would have on the GOP.