The midterm elections are less than four months away. Republicans currently have a 51-49 majority so Democrats need to pick up two seats. Today I will look at where they might find them.
They have an enormous task in front of them. Only nine of the thirty-three seats are currently held by Republicans. They need to defend ten seats in states Donald Trump won while the GOP has just one seat in a state Hillary Clinton won.
That state is Nevada. Dean Heller is seeking a second term. He is a solid conservative who was sharply criticized Donald Trump in 2016. President Trump said he would support a challenger unless Heller was more supportive. They made up and Trump endorsed him. Challenging him is Jacky Rosen. Her first foray into politics was a successful run for the House in 2016.
Republican Jeff Flake announced his retirement. Arizona hasn’t held their primary yet. The likely GOP winner is Martha McSally. She has served two terms in the House and has the distinction of being the first woman to command an Air Force fighter squadron. Running against her are former sheriff Joe Arpaio and Kelly Ward, right-wing nut job. She urged John McCain to resign due to his illness and offered herself up as a replacement. Kyrsten Sinema, a three term member of the House.
Bob Corker of Tennessee announced his retirement. Tennessee has also not held their primary election but neither frontrunner has a serious challenge. Marsha Blackburn, a long time House member, will try to keep the seat. Her challenger is former Governor Phil Bredesen.
The Nevada race is considered to be a tossup. Heller barely won last time. Nevada is growing in population, primary in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County. That favors Democrats so I will give them a slight edge.
Martha McSally is a dream candidate. However, she is being pounded by her primary opponents and it is unlikely they will unite behind her. I think we can probably add Arizona to the list of states in which the Far Right handed over to the Democrats.
Tennessee is redder than the other two states. Bredesen is 74 and hasn’t been in an election since 2006. Blackburn should keep the seat for the Republicans.
If my predictions comes true, the Democrats will get their two seats. However, they have a Herculean task to hang on to their current seats.
President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court. It looks like a good pick. His record shows him to be a constitutionalist not an activist. He clerked under the departing Anthony Kennedy and is close to the Bush family. He has received criticism from hard-core conservatives, further evidence he isn’t one of them.
Democrats have gone absolutely berserk over his nomination. This will put the conservatives in a majority in the court. The idea that this means that far right social policies will become the law of the land is ridiculous. Roe v. Wade will not be overturned. The problem is that they believe their own propaganda. Senator Dick Durbin even suggested that Democrats in tight races be willing to give up their seats by voting against Kavanaugh. Even if this strategy works, Republicans could easily confirm someone else.
The Republicans currently have a 51 to 49 advantage in the Senate. It is doubtful that John McCain will be well enough to vote. I think all of the other Republicans will vote for Kavanaugh along with a few Democrats.
It is easy to assume that the history of our country was foreordained. Some rebels get together, declare independence, won their freedom and build the greatest nation in the world. Nice story isn’t it? The real story is much more complicated and far more interesting. The odds of it working out the way it did are unbelievably small. It is a true miracle.
Suppose the British hadn’t been so draconian after the Boston Tea Party? The whole protest movement would have been limited to a few Boston hotheads.
Few people wanted independence at the dawn of 1776. Then a former tax collector and recent immigrant, Thomas Paine, wrote the pamphlet Common Sense. A single colony could have vetoed independence. John Adams went to work and made it happen.
Forming the country was just the beginning. A few weeks after the Declaration of Independence, American troops were badly beaten in a battle on Long Island. A north wind kept the British navy from destroying them and a fog covered their escape. There were other close calls. It all could have ended in Valley Forge. Suppose the French navy wasn’t at Yorktown.
The new nation had an incredibly weak government. It could have collapsed or been taken over by European countries. Fortunately, men like James Madison were there to create a strong Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Young democracies often turn totalitarian. Washington stepped down from power. Adams accepted an election that put his bitter rival Thomas Jefferson in the White House.
There are many more times when things worked out so that we have the country we have today. Sadly, some demonize the US because Donald Trump is President. The occupant of the Oval Office has nothing to do with the greatness of America. We are far from perfect but have made tremendous strides in the last sixty years to ensure that everyone has basic civil rights and the opportunity to go as far as their abilities can take them.
I hope everyone takes a moment to think about the true meaning of Independence Day.
My last post dealt with the overheated rhetoric coming out of Hollywood. It is just a sample of what is being said these days.
Now it’s going beyond just talk. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled by a mob at a Mexican restaurant. Now crowds gather at her house. Sarah Sanders was thrown out of a restaurant. According to her father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the owner and others followed her across the street and screamed at her while she was at another restaurant. The Florida attorney general was confronted at a movie theater.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters threw fuel on the fire. She told a crowd that if they see a cabinet member of the Trump administration, they should “get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them”. In an interview she said people should “absolutely harass” them. She claimed she wanted a peaceful confrontation. Push back and harass are words of violence. She clearly has to know that a mob could very easily turn violent. To their credit, a number of Democrats are condemning her remarks.
This is getting out of hand. Congressman Steve Scalise is the first Republican official to be a victim of violence. He almost certainly won’t be the last.
The Trump administration’s policy of splitting up families of illegal aliens was a very bad idea. He changed course in response to pressure from both parties.
We have seen some interesting spectacles in the last few days. Robert De Niro kicked things off with an obscenity laced rant aimed at the President during an appearance at the Tony awards. Kathy Griffin directed hers at the First Lady. Peter Fonda topped them both by expressing the desire that their young son be locked in a cage with a pedophile. Even some members of Congress got in the act by waving signs and screaming at the President.
I presume these people are reasonably intelligent. They can’t believe that these tactics will change the policy or bring people to the Democratic Party. Either they are so full of hate that they can’t think straight or they have another motive. Perhaps it is to gain attention, stroke their ego, endear themselves to the extreme resist movement or some other motive.
Republicans owe these people their gratitude. They are the ultimate beneficiaries of these actions.
The long-awaited inspector general’s report finally arrived. It showed widespread misbehavior in the FBI. The most chilling part is two senior FBI officials discussing the idea of a plot to ensure Hillary Clinton would win the election.
All this hoopla on the investigation obscures what she actually did. It has been portrayed as a scandal involving her use of a private email account. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Using Google or some other firm shows poor judgement but it’s likely that the emails are fairly secure. Instead, she used her own server. That certainly would be far less secure. Unbelievably, she used the same address for her personal and government emails. Most serious of all, she stored classified documents on the server. At best, she was extremely careless. Her actions may well have been criminal.
My primary criteria for a presidential candidate is their judgement. I believe it is more important than experience or political beliefs. I once wrote that her lack of judgment made her unfit for the presidency. Unfortunately, the same thing could be said about her opponent.
President Trump has been very prominent on the world stage in recent days. First, he attended the G7 meeting followed by the historic meeting with Kim Jong Un. They had very different results.
International trade is complex. If we are not being treated fairly, we should renegotiate and impose sanctions if they don’t go along. Instead, he went with his usual bull in a china shop approach. He arbitrarily decided that the steel and aluminum industries should be rewarded. Putting on tariffs will allow them to jack up their prices. This will be great for the roughly 150,000 workers. How about the millions who work in industries dependent on steel and aluminum, those affected when other countries retaliate and consumers paying higher prices? He claims this is to ensure we can supply the defense industry. They only use 3% of our domestic production. He further insulted our friends by his boorish behavior at the G7 meeting. He refused to sign the communique and called the Canadian prime minister a liar.
This is in sharp contrast to the meeting with North Korea. He went out of his way to be cordial. Some took a moralistic view and said we shouldn’t reward Kim with a presidential sit-down. Our purpose is to reach an agreement, not act like a parent punishing an unruly child. I give him credit for getting farther than any other president. Now the hard work of negotiating an agreement begins. Nobody knows if it will succeed or fail.
So, we are treating our most dangerous enemy with kindness and scorning our closest friends. About anything can happen in the Trump administration.
June 6, 1944 was one of those rare days when the fate of the world hung in the balances. The greatest armada the world has ever seen was crossing the English Channel to free France from Nazi control.
The Allies went to extraordinary lengths to fool the Germans. They even created a fictitious army, headed by George Patton, complete with rubber tanks and phony radio traffic. This helped them establish a beachhead and end the European war less than a year later.
What if it failed? It would have taken months to plan a new landing. If it failed, perhaps the war would have ended with Hitler still in power. Russia was moving quickly from the east. They could have ended up controlling most of Western Europe.
Those few soldiers still living are in their nineties. Soon there will be nobody left to give a firsthand account. Hopefully future generations will remember them and honor their accomplishment.
The stories about Roseanne Barr have been straightforward. She sent a racist tweet and her show was cancelled. I think there is more to the story.
Personally, I have no use for her as a person or an actress. She did offer two defenses. She claimed she didn’t know Valerie Jarret’s ethnicity. I don’t buy that for a minute. She also claimed that she had taken a sleeping pill. If true, this could have affected her. I used to take the same pill. One day I was mall walking with friends and couldn’t figure out where I was. I got really angry with them which is totally out of character. My doctor told me about a patient who would walk around his apartment complex naked.
ABC should have given her a chance to defend herself. They could have taken her off the show but let it continue. Other shows have gone on after the real or scripted death of a star.
This is really a part of a much bigger story. Liberalism today is a combination of bending over backwards to not offend some groups while expressing hatred for others. They hate conservatives, Christians, southerners and those without college degrees.
The entertainment industry is following in lockstep. It’s fine to attack Vice President Pence because of his religious beliefs. Joking about killing president Trump is harmless fun. A female comedian used an offensive word for a female body part in referring to Ivanka Trump. Their response depends almost totally on which group is being attacked.
Some Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, say that the only reason these groups don’t vote democratic is because of a character flaw. They are racist, sexist homophobes. The women vote the way they do because they can’t stand up to the men in their life.
The entertainment industry doesn’t want to show theses groups in a positive light. Despite the success of Roseanne, clearly some ABC executives were looking for a reason to get rid of it. They cancelled their second highest rated sitcom, quite likely because of the star and his character’s conservative belief. The only devout Christian on any show I watch is Sarah Dew’s April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy. She is no longer on the show.
We should condemn those that cross the line no matter who they attack. This selective outrage is not good for the country, the Democratic Party or the entertainment industry.
We have become used to both parties focusing on battling each other rather than working together. This week we had some good news from Congress.
The Dodd-Frank bill was enacted after the financial meltdown. Regulatory reform was obviously needed but it went too far. One of the biggest problems was the paperwork burden on small community banks. A bill to correct this was passed and signed by President Trump. A number of Democrats voted for it.
Unfortunately, I believe that any cooperation between the parties will rarely happen. We deserve better.