Archive for the 'Presidential convention' Category


It was reliably reported this morning that Donald Trump has personally contacted Hillary Clinton to offer her a deal.

Smarting from what he perceives to be an unfair advantage gained by the Democrats at their Philadelphia convention, Mr. Trump believes that his only chance to make it to the Oval Office is to team up with Secretary Clinton. The details of the deal offered by Mr. Trump are sketchy but they are believed to include the following:

Both Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton would run together as “ReDemrocans”.

Following their victory in November, they would become “Co-Presidents” jointly occupying the White House. Due to the crowded quarters, the vice-presidency would be abolished.

Presidential decisions would be made by Mr. Trump on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Secretary Clinton would assume that responsibility on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. No decisions would be made or actions taken on Sundays.

Secretary Clinton is free to appoint her own cabinet. Mr. Trump does not want a cabinet.

Congress would be equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. The current imbalance will be resolved by coin flips. Future congressional elections will be unnecessary. Vacated positions would be filled by one or the other Co-President depending on the day of the week that the vacancy occurred. Ditto for the Supreme Court.

In the event that one of the Co-Presidents should die in office, the remaining Co-President will commit suicide.  The country can then figure out what to do after that.

When contacted by Fox News about the deal, Mr. Trump denied any knowledge of it and blamed Chelsea Clinton for leaking the story. “It must be her time of the month” he said.

Night Two in Charlotte

David Brooks seemed a little out of sorts early last night at the PBS round table in Charlotte.

Continuing to beat the drum about the missing-in-action business moguls and the overabundance of politicians, policy wonks and just plain people, he seemed frustrated when I tuned in around 5pm.  “Where are the new policies, the proposed legislation, the magic fairy dust that will get us out of this mess…I don’t hear it.”

Assuming a grandfatherly role, frumpy Mark Shields seemed to want to ease the stress on David’s younger face.  But all he could think of was “David, you’ve been hearing it, you’re just not paying attention.”

Nancy Pelosi did her best to rally the troops, Barbara Mikulski led a female senatorial invasion, and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood took to the lectern.  It seemed to be women’s night, again.  The crowd seemed especially subdued during  Ms. Richard’s speech until she mentioned her mother  Ann, former governor of Texas.  Maybe they remembered Ann’s famous line in her keynote address at the 1988 Democratic convention about workplace discrimination against womenIf you give us the chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.

Sister Simone Campbell “one of the nuns on the bus” blasted the Romney-Ryan budget and told us that her creed was based on being her brothers’ and her sisters’ keeper.  And that includes keeping people healthy and alive, or as she stridently put it “That’s my pro-life standard.” 

While I silently wondered when the guys would arrive, Sweetie watched the faces in the audience highlighted by the TV cameras and said “Why are they showing so many African-American faces?”  My first paranoid thought was that the TV director was a Republican but then I recovered from my racist delusion and said “It only seems that way since they were an endangered species in Tampa.”

David was finally rewarded for his patience.  Bill Butcher owner of Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Virginia said that even though Obama was making his own stuff in the White House basement that Bill would reward us with a free one for each Obama vote.

Austin Ligon, founder of multi-zillion dollar CarMax, said he didn’t do it alone. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Costco CEO, Jim Sinegal, in an obvious dig at Mitt and his Bain buddies said to build a business you’ve got to plant and grow, not reap and run.

Sandra Fluke, proclaimed a slut by the moral moron Rush Limbaugh, grabbed the spotlight.  She and other females were shut out of a House hearing that focused on contraception.  In the House of Representatives, access to birth control is being decided by people who will never use it. But here, instead of silencing me, you invite me.  Focusing like a laser beam on our choices in November, and in reference to Romney’s milk toast remarks about Limbaugh’s diatribe…Your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs…Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party.

The first illegal immigrant to address a national convention, Benita Veliz, embraced the Dream Act and Obama’s decision to pave the way to citizenship for children brought here by their parents.  Like so many Americans of all races and backgrounds, I was brought here as a child. I’ve been here ever since. I graduated as a valedictorian of my high school class at the age of 16, and I went on to earn a double major at the age of 20. I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country. I just feel as American as any of my friends or neighbors.

Showtime.  The man is here.  Pay attention, he said.  Listen up, he commanded.  And we did.  Bill had  lots to say and at times I thought the hook would, maybe should, come out.  But it was worth our time.  Pointing a skinny, crooked finger at us, he insisted that politics didn’t need to be a blood sport.  But he reminded us that the Republicans’ number one priority was to put Obama out of work, not to put Americans back to work.

He clarified and rewrote the Republicans’  Obama mantra conceived in Tampa.  Simply…we left him a total mess, he didn’t clean it up fast enough, so put us back in.

He too gave us a choice.  Winner take all  versus shared responsibility.  You’re on your own versus let me help.

It was a stark contrast.  Instead of Republicans ignoring and disowning their party’s leader of eight years, the Democrats embraced theirs.  Instead of  obliterating  an eight year Republican history of chaos, failure and debt, the Democrats paraded a man who led, produced balanced budgets, embraced the needy, and captured the admiration of millions.

At the end of the evening at the PBS wrap-up, David looked like a tired, but calm, man.  A man who realized and maybe even embraced the obvious choice.

Night one in Charlotte

I half expected to see George Bush at the lectern on the first night of the Democrat’s party in Charlotte.

Having received neither an invitation to Tampa nor a single line in any of the speeches given by the Republican faithful, I figured George must have switched parties.

I had intended to tune in to the convention just to hear Michelle.  But I was drawn like a moth to the flame and switched on the Samsung about an hour into the proceedings.  Just in time to visit the PBS booth and hear the incisive Gwen Ifill and the inquisitive Judy Woodruff ask their token Republican, David Brooks, and the ever-frumpy Mark Shields about their impressions of the first day of the convention.

My on-again, off-again love affair with David was tested once more when he said “The only people who’ve been at the lectern are politicians and public servants.  Not a single business leader has been asked to speak.  That should leave little doubt in people’s minds about which party is the party of government.”

 Before David could take a breath, we segued to the convention floor and watched Tammy Duckworth clamber to the podium on two artificial legs she earned piloting a Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq.  Tammy expressed her thanks for food stamps and education-supporting Pell Grants as factors that gave her a fair chance of success.

Ted Strickland, former governor of Ohio, talked about ordinary Joes and stridently insisted that government financial support for GM was what kept the auto industry alive in his state.

A now retired twenty year Goodyear employee, Lilly Ledbetter,  was paid less than her male colleagues doing the same job.  Losing her case in the Supreme Court because she had missed a 180 day statute of limitations, she pushed hard for eventual congressional passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

In what was perhaps the most moving moment at the convention, Stacey Lihn, mother of Zoe, a toddler with congenital heart disease praised the Affordable Care Act.  Without it, her daughter’s insurance would have limited out.  With it, Zoe can continue treatments, reminding us that no one should go broke because of illness.

And on it went.  Speaker after speaker talking about a fair chance, a leg up, help when it was most needed.  A stark contrast with the “you’re on your own” mantra featured in Tampa.

And I thought, David, you are absolutely right.  There are no entrepreneurs on the podium.  There are just people there.  People who need government in their lives.  A government that…

Helps the unfortunate

Provides educational opportunities to those who can’t afford it

Delivers healthcare as a right not a privilege

Implements financial reforms and regulations to protect those who can’t protect themselves

Relies less on war and more on seeking non-violent solutions

Provides food to those who would otherwise go hungry

Invests in companies that are the backbone of our economy and that provide jobs to the jobless

Protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority

Relies on women to know what’s best for their own bodies

Protects diversity in how or whether we worship, and disdains a one-size-fits all definition of morality

Insures workplace safety while simultaneously investing in roads, bridges, research and technology

The culmination of the evening was heralded by another government employee, Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio.  Mayor Castro got the biggest cheer of the evening when he credited government aid in his formative years.  “Without it, I’d be holding a mop instead of this microphone.”

The star of the evening, Michelle Obama revitalized her husband’s humanity.

We switched back to the PBS booth.  I swear I saw David’s eyes glisten.  And we both understood why George hadn’t been invited.

Just the facts

It started a few days ago.  That nagging feeling that nobody cares about the truth.  Or worse yet, simply insist that the truth is merely a fiction.

My friend Ralph sent me, for the second time, a regurgitated missive blasted to his friends in cyberspace intended to terrorize the mindless among us.  Warning us that Obamacare would tax the sale of our home, he ignored the actual law and chose to sensationalize and grossly overstate.  No matter that I had previously told him, accompanied by references and facts, that he was seriously off base.  Better to spread the falsehood in the sacred effort to rid us of Obama and that awful healthcare abomination so mindlessly upheld by that liberal pinko, Justice Roberts.

Jay Ambrose, a regular columnist in the Ventura Star, spent the better part of his Wednesday message telling us that fact checkers were predominantly leftists pushing the liberal point of view.  Better to ignore them.  Better to accept the lies than to trust anyone who might be armed with the truth.

In response to the twisted logic applied by Paul Ryan as he endeared himself to the Tampa convention goers, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse turned the challenge back on the fact checkers, saying they bring their own “thoughts and beliefs” to the process.  “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” Newhouse said.  Better to accept everything the candidate says.  After all, he’s cute and his mother loves him.

The long dead John Sununu arose, as he tends to do every four years, to defend the Romney ad that accuses Obama of gutting welfare reform by illegally granting waivers to states that ask for them. The TV ad claims the Obama administration has adopted “a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.”  The plan does neither of those things.  Abetting this, some would say racist, claim that folks could avoid looking for work, stay home, drink beer, fart a lot and get checks for doing so, Sununu almost had a cerebral explosion defending his right to call Obama a liar.  Substantiating his claim to veracity, he invoked the names of Rick Santorum (there is no global warming and conception begins at the moment of erection) and Newt Gingrich (the earth is flat and I didn’t inhale when I was cheating on my wives.)

I thought I had escaped from this onslaught of slime to the sanctity of the Cinemark Theater in downtown Ventura to watch Robot and Frank (don’t bother, it’s still searching for a plot).  As part of the now ubiquitous pre-feature film advertising deluge, Glenn Beck’s face appeared on the screen inviting me to spend time with him while he made unbiased fun of himself, both political parties and the election.  The very same Glenn Beck who just recently promoted the lie that the Democratic convention will host a Muslim “Jumah” prayer service while rejecting a Catholic cardinal’s offer to lead a prayer.  Glenn has it almost right, except that the Muslim service is in a city park and is sponsored by a non-profit claiming no allegiance to either party.

Much as it hurts me, I admit that both parties own a significant share of fibs, distortions and big, fat lies.  It is informative, however, to gauge the relative veracity of both of them.  Simply put, who’s the biggest liar?  To that end, a Pulitzer (Commie bastard) winning organization, has a list of Pants on Fire awards for lies that haven’t even a Captain Crunch grain of truth.  Check it out.

Does it matter? Is anyone paying attention?  More importantly, are those undecided voters (aka wimps) swayed by the barrage and complexity of the falsehoods?   For to every lie there is also the claim of truth.  To those who think we need to do something about global warming, there are those who cite the doubts voiced by the miniscule minority who have their heads in their ass.  To those who say there is a growing and unfair disparity between the 1% and the 99%, there are those tricksters who say that jobs will trickle down from more tax cuts for the wealthy.  And to those who say trust us, there are those who remember George, Dick, Donald and Condoleeza.

The other night, Barrel 33 hosted my buddy Jim and I to happy hour martinis.  We come from opposites ends of the political spectrum yet find some way, maybe an even invigorating way, to argue politics.  Somewhere in the conversation, Jim said “I think I’ll just stick my head under the covers until the election is over.  It’s giving me a headache.”

I know that Jim won’t do that.  And neither should you.  Stay focused on the clear choice broadcast  by the parties.  You can be an America-firster dedicated to lower taxes, dramatically reduced support for those less fortunate, a larger military budget, decimated school budgets, growing intrusion of religion in our lives, and a one-size-fits-all definition of morality.  Or you can be the exact opposite.

And that’s a fact.

Take it, my pretty

I was reminded of the scene in Disney’s Snow White where the beautiful wicked queen disguised as an old hag offers the poisoned apple to Snow White.  “Take it my pretty, it will do you good.”  And we all know what happened then.

I had firmly resolved not to watch the Republican Convention.  That promise lasted about ten minutes when I remembered my line to Sweetheart when she asked me several years ago “Why do you listen to that freak Rush Limbaugh?”

 Because we need to know the enemy, I lied.  And listening to Limbaugh does more for raising my pulse rate than any exercise machine is capable of.

I figured if I watched the convention on PBS that I’d get less spewing of false rhetoric and more honest coverage of the Tampa white folks’ convention.  So I clicked to channel 50.

I nearly fell over backwards when my sixty inch Samsung screen was, without warning, filled with the image of Chris Christie looking as though he had just swallowed most of his state of New Jersey.  My first inclination was to make fun of his size, but then I remembered that this was a very petty approach to dealing with an adversary.  So I tried to remove his size 62 hulk from the equation.

And then he began to shout at me.  And the floating digital backdrop behind him filled with blue amorphous  globules that seemed to depict an ever-rising influx of the Governor’s bad cholesterol.  So I rejected the honorable approach of dealing with him and decided to focus on the petty.

I swear that the longer I watched Crispy, the bigger he got.  I tried to imagine the number of sheep that had to be sheared to produce his suit jacket.  I wondered if his pants had once been employed as an infield  ground cloth during a rainy day at Yankee Stadium.

But I did manage, between a barrage of ever more nasty mental insights, to listen to some of his speech.  And I was richly  rewarded with a potpourri of distortions, factual contortions and downright insults to anyone’s intelligence except for that of the mostly old, mostly rich and almost universally white people who were in attendance and obviously enthralled with his words.

As his harangue grew in volume, I thought back to that old Monty Python routine, Mr. Creosote.  In that gross but very funny episode set in a restaurant, Mr. Creosote, ably played by Terry Jones, eats everything in sight.  Finally, after being offered a mint to complete the orgy, Creosote explodes and lays waste to himself and everything around him.  As his voice grew louder and his face redder,  I anxiously waited for Crispy to emulate Creosote.

But I digress from Crispy’s speech which mainly focused on his prescription of tax cuts, slashed budgets, cancelled public projects and broken labor unions.  It’s good for you, my pretty, he insisted.  It’s what the doctor ordered.  It will make your life more meaningful.  Your grandchildren will thank you.  And only Mitt can transport you to the promised land.

What Crispy failed to tell us is that New Jersey has not had the revenue boom he promised from his tax cuts and the state’s unemployment rate is higher than it was when he took over.  Per Paul Krugman, Crispy’s budget balancing routine was heavily weighted to deferring required contributions to pension funds, diverting money from the Transportation Trust Fund, cancelling the much-needed rail tunnel link to Manhattan while investing in a megamall and an Atlantic City casino, and vetoing a temporary tax surcharge on millionaires.

The convention center cameras panned around during Crispy’s speech giving us respite from watching his cholesterol count.  Clearly enraptured faces abounded.  Other faces, one in particular, had a facial expression that defied description.  Mitt’s face seemed frozen in time, unsure whether to laugh or cry.  To laugh at the orgy of distortion or to cry wondering what he had done to deserve the main spotlight in this circus.

He too, maybe because he’s been doing it too long to stop, will surely reach out to us and say “Take it my pretty, it will do you good.”



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