I never expected to write another post about the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. Then something unexpected happened. A compromise was reached.
Unlike many, I deliberately didn’t watch yesterday’s testimony. By all accounts, the accuser did well. Even President Trump had kind words for her. It looked to me that Kavanaugh would not be confirmed. It had nothing to do with what did or did not happen years ago. This gave Democrats political cover not to vote against him. Republicans could only afford to lose one vote and I expected them to lose two or three.
Several of those on the fence met. Out of that came the agreement to have the FBI do a brief investigation and report back in a week. Some Republicans are criticizing this because they don’t want to concede an inch of ground to the Democrats. Their object is not to win a political battle; it’s to get Kavanaugh confirmed. This will give political cover to vote for him. No matter what happens, Democrats will scream for further delays. It may take more than a week, but I expect he will be sworn in soon.
If my prediction comes true, it will be a real pleasure to see something work as it is supposed to. Government is all about compromise. That’s the only reason we have a country in the first place. Today, both parties are more interested in fighting each other than doing what is good for the country. That’s why I am an independent.
Bill Cosby had it all: a long, highly successful career, more money than he could ever spend and the adoration of millions. He was known as America’s favorite dad.
We have all learned that under the veneer of goodness was something really ugly. He saw women as nothing more than playthings. He felt he could do whatever he wanted and could get with it because of who he was.
At age 81, he should have been able to enjoy himself and look back on a wonderful life. Instead, he is starting a new life as a prisoner. He is likely blaming others for his downfall. It is entirely his fault.
Along the way he was given all the protections allowed by the Constitution and the laws. That is how it should be. Both the accused and the accuser deserve to be treated fairly.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. They believe in guilty until proven innocent. They believe that a person’s gender should be used to determine their believability. They believe all men are culpable.
These people may get their way. If so, none of us will have the protection the Founding Fathers gave us when they wrote the Constitution.
Earlier today there was a lot of speculation that Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein would be out of a job. So far, he is still there. I’m glad to hear it because he is getting a bum rap.
Rosenstein is the type of person we need in the Justice Department. He is brilliant (graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League school and was editor of the Harvard Law Review). He is talented and bipartisan. He has been part of the last four presidential administrations. President Trump nominated him and the Senate confirmed him by a vote of 94-6.
He had barely been on the job when Trump ordered he and Jeff Sessions to produce a memo outlining the reasons why FBI Director James Comey should be fired. The decision had already been made. Trump was looking for some political cover.
Comey’s firing produced hysterical reactions. In that environment, talking to a Russian citizen was seen as proof of a criminal conspiracy. Sessions had a number of contacts with them while performing his duties as a Senator. He recused himself and the whole mess fell in Rosenstein’s lap.
He knew that someone needed to be brought in to investigate the accusations of collusion. He had known Robert Mueller for nearly thirty years. At the time Mueller had a very good reputation. In fact, it was George W. Bush who named him to head the FBI. Rosenstein couldn’t have foreseen that Mueller would have a staff almost completely made up of highly partisan Democrats and launch a witch hunt.
Many Republicans were upset when it was revealed that he signed the FISA warrant on Carter Page based on the infamous Steele dossier. He had to believe what the FBI told him. Obviously, he doesn’t have the resources to reinvestigate the case. Isn’t 20/20 hindsight wonderful?
The latest bombshell was the New York Times report that he was involved in a plan to record President Trump and start a 25th Amendment attempt to remove Trump from office. I find it interesting that those who denounce the Times believe they got it right this time. There was some kind of meeting in which Rosenstein, Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page were among the attendees. Who is more likely to conspire against the President? The man who was just hired by him or those who are neck deep in the FBI scandals? Clearly someone was out to destroy Rosenstein and the Times was happy to help them.
There are some Republicans who are no more interested in Rosenstein being treated fair than some Democrats are with Kavanaugh. The country would be well served if those who wish to pervert justice were out of office.
In these times of divisiveness, any confirmation hearing for a potential supreme court justice is bound to be contentious. Right now, we have a three-ring circus.
The process used to be far less partisan. Unless there were strong objections, most senators thought the president was entitled to their choice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg received 96 votes. Now, very few senators will vote for anyone in the opposite party.
If President Trump is able to nominate a successor to Anthony Kennedy, it is almost certain to affect the balance of the Court. Democrats are so desperate that they are willing to do almost anything. They are determined to stall this until next year in the hope that they will then control the Senate. Some see this as the same thing that Republicans did with Garland. There is a huge difference between the majority deciding not to act and a minority thwarting the will of the majority. President Obama once said elections have consequences. Apparently, that applies only to Republicans.
The hearings got off to a raucous start with Democrats constantly interrupting and demonstrators trying to stop the hearings. We had two senators send out videos that were deliberately edited to make Kavanaugh look bad. Cory Booker had his Spartacus moment.
Of course, all that was a prelude for the accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a girl when he was a teenager. Rather than discuss the case itself, I want to focus on how it is being handled. Diane Feinstein deliberately kept it under wraps for two months. Some want a guilty until proven innocent approach. It’s impossible to prove a negative. He would need an hourly diary for both he and the accuser from their teen years. Senator Hirono of Hawaii attacked men in general saying they should “shut up and step up”. Now some are saying they will impeach him if he is confirmed.
These actions may make them feel good and endear them to their base. This is not the way most Americans want their government to operate. These tactics may hurt them in the midterm election.
Note: I will get back to the election but have a few other topics I would like to discuss.
It is no secret that California Governor Jerry Brown hates President Trump with a white-hot passion. Like anyone else, he has the right to say what he wants. Depending on how a person interprets some recent remarks, he may have gone way over the line.
Recently he was speaking to Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC. Needles to say, he was really tearing into Trump. Then he said “something’s got to happen to this guy, because if we don’t get rid of him, he’s going to undermine America and even the world.”
There are three ways to remove a president from office. He can be impeached and convicted. Many people misuse the word impeachment. It is an indictment drawn up by the House. The Senate holds a trial and it takes a 2/3 vote to remove the president from office. Jerry Brown is a smart man. He has to realize there is no way 67 senators will vote that way, barring something far more serious than that what has come out so far.
Adopted in 1967, the Twenty-fifth Amendment provides another way. The vice president and a majority of the cabinet (or another body chosen by Congress) must declare the president is unable to perform his duties. If the president says is able to, it takes a 2/3 majority of both houses to remove him. This is tougher standard than impeachment and conviction.
The third way has been successful four times. It was the method chosen by John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. Brown certainly didn’t call for it. I am not a mind reader so have no idea what he was thinking. Even so, I find the possibility that the governor of our largest state might have been thinking about the third way to be quite disturbing.
We certainly don’t need to respect any president. However, we should respect the office. Whenever I write about a president, the first reference includes the title and the name.
The primaries are over so we know who will be running in November. The Republicans currently have a 51-49 advantage so the Democrats need to pick up two seats to gain control. They are eying five possible seats. I will discuss them in order of likelihood of going Democratic.
Nevada – Incumbent Dean Heller is the only Republican running in a state won by Hillary Clinton. His opponent is a Jacky Rosen, a one term Congresswoman. She has led in most of the polls but by a small margin. Fox News has the race leaning Democrat. All others call it a toss-up. Demographics favor her as Las Vegas continues to grow. I predict that Rosen will win.
Arizona – Republican Jeff Flake retired. Martha McSally, a two-term congresswoman, is trying to keep the seat for the GOP. She was the first woman to fly in combat and lead a fighter squadron. Kyrsten Sinema is a centrist Democrat with three terms in Congress. Sinema had been consistently leading in the polls but McSally has won two recent polls. Last time I picked Sinema. I believe the race is moving in McSally’s favor and she will end up with the victory.
Tennessee – Republican Bob Corker is retiring. The GOP is pinning their hopes on eight-term Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. Her opponent, Phil Bredesen, is a former governor and mayor of Nashville. He is widely respected but hasn’t run for office in eleven years and, if victorious, would be 75 when sworn in. The experts are split between calling it a toss-up and leaning Republican. It should be close but I’ll give Blackburn the edge.
Texas – Ted Cruz is running for a second term. His opponent is two-term Congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke. The polls have been very close but Cruz has led every single one. I think he will be reelected.
Mississippi – There is both a regular and a special election this year. Some Democrats consider this seat in the special election winnable. The only chance I see is if the GOP candidate is another Roy Moore.
If I am right, the Democrats will only pick up one seat. That would mean there would be no chance of them controlling the Senate. Since I am sometimes wrong (I predicted an easy Clinton win in 2016), I will look at the seats in which the Democrats are vulnerable next time.
There aren’t many times in our history when the world changes in one day. Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of one such day. A bunch of terrorists killed more people than the Japanese navy did at Pearl Harbor. Each year the memory of it seems to fade a little further. The vast majority of today’s college students have no direct memory at all.
The phrase “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance” goes back to something an Irish politician said in 1790. We face dangers that nobody could have conceived back then. We still have to be concerned with terrorism. North Korea continues to work on building atomic weapons and rockets than can reach us. Russia will likely continue to tamper with elections. China will do what it can to steal intellectual property. This is by no means a complete list.
We must meet all of these challenges. However, we must do it in a way that doesn’t harm our democracy or the constitutional freedoms so many have died to secure.
I can never recall a president publicly attacking a member of his cabinet. President Trump has been going after Attorney General Jeff Sessions for over a year.
Attorney general is unlike any other cabinet post. While there are some areas in which politics may play a part, it has no place at all in the administration of justice. Unfortunately for Sessions, Donald Trump doesn’t seem to care about justice. He clearly wants a political fixer that will give Republicans a pass and go after Democrats. Trump made this very clear in a recent tweet claiming Sessions is hurting the GOP’s chances in the midterm election.
A person would sure understand if Sessions decided to leave. A number of people, including some Republican senators, are urging him to stay.
One of the key points in Trump’s presidential campaign was Jeff Sessions’ endorsement. He was the first senator to do so. With friends like Trump he sure doesn’t need any enemies.
We heard a lot of talk about the blue wave earlier this year. Much of it was based on polls asking people which party they prefer. Democrats had a big lead and then it got closer. Now it is moving back in their direction.
Today I would like to take a look at factors that favor the Democrats and those that are against them. Later this month I will update my predictions for both the House and the Senate.
There are several reasons for Democrats to be hopeful:
1. Midterm elections almost always favor the party out of power.
2. They have been able to generate more enthusiasm than the Republicans.
3. Most of the seats in the House that are up for grabs are currently being held by Republicans. Of course, they hold most of the vulnerable seats in the Senate.
Here are some reasons for them to be concerned:
1. A stronger economy and the tax cuts favor the GOP.
2. Too many Democrats are pushing the theme that Republicans are evil. It didn’t work in 2016 and it won’t work now.
3. The party is moving dramatically to the left. Right now, Democrat Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting more publicity than anyone else. Getting rid of capitalism is definitely not a mainstream issue.
4. They are losing touch with the ordinary person. Bill Clinton talked about feeling their pain. Hillary Clinton says they vote Republican because they are racist and women are afraid to stand up to the men in their lives.
5. People pay less attention to ideology when voting for members of Congress. They often vote for the person, not the party.
The election is still over two months away. A lot can happen between now and then.