Why I Am Not On Bernie Sanders Bandwagon

First, and foremost I think about politics, policy, and how government should work each time I sit down to blog.  I have been quite dismayed over the past months with the Bernie Sanders campaign and some of his backers on Facebook who state they can not support a nominee other than Sanders in the general election.

Needless to say it is those types of comments which add weight to the mature voices in the Democratic Party who speak of pragmatism.  At the end of this process Sanders and his adoring fans will be left with some campaign bunting and a memory that wanes over time.

But what I desire for my nation and my party–a party Sanders only recently joined and now wants to radically change–is a victory this fall by a Democrat for the White House.

I want to win.

Over the weeks I have taken to this blog to register my unease with Sanders and what he is doing by elongating this nominating process.  Sanders has exactly zero chance of securing the nomination but can harm the eventual Democratic nominee by his actions.   But since he is not a Democrat what the hell does he care?

This week I posted that Democrats need to ask if Sanders is not the modern-day Gene McCarthy?  My blog post was picked up and linked by the Capital Times.

History shows what happened when a failed candidate and his youthful, but short-sighted followers, failed to support the eventual nominee.  Richard Nixon won the White House, expanded the Vietnam War, undermined the Constitution with all the crimes that fall under the term Watergate, faced articles of impeachment, and resigned.

Those words are simply the truth as history clearly proves.

Today Paul Fanlund, Editor of the Capital Times, nails if perfectly in a column as to why he has differences with the Bernie Sanders campaign.  I absolutely concur with his words and sentiments.  He too echoes back to the time when Nixon won due to short-sighted reasoning.

Even in liberal Madison, many progressives regard Clinton as the logical successor to Obama, and more importantly, as the candidate with the widest general election appeal. Some of us remember how Richard Nixon got elected president in 1968 because liberals just couldn’t get excited about Hubert Humphrey. The result? The Vietnam War — and the military draft — went on for years. 

That brings me to Ralph Nader, who, like Sanders, remains a darling of the far left for his ideological purity.

Four decades ago, I recall my unbridled admiration as I heard Nader speak in person on Capitol Hill. Nader was already a celebrated consumer advocate and I was in graduate school in Washington, D.C.

But today, I could hardly be more disdainful of Nader.

In a recent opinion column in the Washington Post, Nader defended Sanders against criticism by Democratic leaders after the senator said he was running as a Democrat to raise money — not, apparently, out of affinity for party principles.

Think about that: Sanders apparently believes he has the charisma and the message to recreate a party substantially to the left of the one that’s been led by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. That party is apparently the one Nader sneeringly refers to in the Post as the “corporatist, hawkish establishment.”

In that column, Nader also described himself as “one of the more successful third-party presidential candidates in recent U.S. history.”

Yes, Nader’s right, if your definition of success is depriving Democrat Al Gore of enough votes in 2000 to defeat George W. Bush. That Bush victory, in turn, delayed action against global warming, brought the unspeakable carnage and ongoing quagmire in Iraq and helped set the stage for a financial crisis unmatched since the Great Depression.

That is not my definition of success.

With true believers such as Nader and Sanders leading the way, you say you want a revolution?

You can count me out.

LGBT Cemetery Section In Washington, D.C.

From a most informative article comes the following.

Congressional Cemetery, just east of Capitol Hill in Washington, has been dubbed “America’s hippest cemetery.” It entices the living to its grounds with offerings of yoga sessions in the chapel, al fresco movie nights, and dog-walking groups. The cemetery also has a feature that, according to the administration, is unique among cemeteries around the world: a “Gay Corner.”

Congressional’s LGBT section, in the cemetery’s northwest, began with a man named Leonard Matlovich. In 1975, Matlovich, a Vietnam vet, had been in the Air Force for 12 years and had an unblemished service record. On March 8 of that year, he sent a letter to his superior officer confirming that he was, indeed, homosexual.

Military regulations at the time clearly stated that “homosexuality is not tolerated in the Air Force.” At a hearing into the matter, government counsel asked a psychiatrist named Dr. Money “whether Sergeant Matlovich’s continued presence in the military might pervert sexually normal servicemen.” Dr. Money said no. Matlovich was discharged anyway.

Following his dismissal from the military, Matlovich became a committed activist. “He had a lifelong fight for LGBT inclusion in the military, way before ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” says Paul Williams, president of Congressional Cemetery. One of the great legacies of this fight, and the foundation of the Gay Corner, is Matlovich’s tombstone.

Walter Cronkite Would Have Reported 2016 Election Differently

There is a difference between making news and saying something outlandish and hoping for press coverage.

All too often what gets covered this election cycle are the irrational and completely inane comments and tweets of Donald Trump.  When he is not performing as he wishes in a poll, or not the latest headline of the hour is when he creates a verbal rant that makes some in the media wet themselves with joy.

With each painfully stupid remark from Trump comes ratings for the television networks who would cover him nonstop if it were not for those pesky commercials which pay the bills.   So much for the public airwaves being used for the higher ends of our nation.

I again think of former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite in this era when infotainment is gaining ground and the general intelligence level of the electorate is slipping lower. I am most confident if the famed journalist had the ability to cover this election he would do two things at once.

First, he would not elevate the crass and vulgar over the issues of the campaign.   We would not see the ‘blood’ story regarding a news anchor, or allow for body parts to be sized up for the evening news.

Second, he would demand answers to questions posed.  Once a candidate tried to weave and dodge and wander miles from the question Cronkite would insist on an answer or end the interview.  The public airwaves at news time is not the personal territory of a candidate.

Trump has benefitted immensely for having been allowed to use the national airwaves in the fashion we all have observed.  Most recently in the New York Times the value of Trump’s free media coverage has been put at close to $2 billion had the candidate been required to pay.  As the article notes  “no fundraising and advertising effort can match it.”  That poses serious questions and concerns about our entire political process.

Cronkite would have held Trump and others to a higher standard as he appreciated the need for a well-informed electorate.  “Uncle Walter” knew something that is lacking in too many news rooms today.  That would be journalists are not there to provide what citizens want to see, but instead are there to report what citizens need to know.

The time when Cronkite ruled the nightly airwaves was a time when civic duty was a true standard in the news room.  That standard was expected to be met each and every broadcast.

Political Cartoons Of GOP Governor Robert Bentley Sex Scandal

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Why Reporters Matter–Reason #6,924

Journalists and reporters are the reason our democracy thrives.  That has long been a point made on this blog.

The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure. –Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823.

So it comes as no surprise that I post the following from the Washington Post.

Anyone who has doubts about the importance of journalists in 2016 need be acquainted only with the reporting team at AL.com, the largest statewide news organization in Alabama. The group’s reporters cracked open a scandal involving their governor’s alleged infidelity last week and have been covering the unpredictable fallout aggressively ever since.

This scandal didn’t come to them overnight; they’ve been hearing rumors of an affair between Gov. Robert Bentley (R) and his top political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, for months. The story finally broke open on March 22 when a fired top law enforcement official went on the record to AL.com’s John Archibald about the alleged affair and offered proof. Faced with damning evidence of a taped phone conversation to a woman named Rebekah, Bentley has denied he had an affair, but few in a state accustomed to scandal believe him.

So lets salute and thank those intrepid reporters who keep us aware of the news and facts needed in order to maintain the type of nation we live in–may it always be so.

Donald Trump (Again) Outmaneuvered Over Convention Delegates

So much for Donald Trump being the smartest person in the room, with the biggest brain.  So much for Trump having the most savvy skills for deal making.  The best read of the day comes from Politico about how Trump is being played all the way to the Republican convention.

In Texas they might say of this orange-skinned man, “All hat, no horse.”

Perhaps the most glaring warning sign for Trump is the looming battle for delegates in Massachusetts. Trump scored 49 percent of the vote there, 31 points ahead of second-place Kasich. Cruz finished a distant fourth with 9.6 percent. Yet, it’s Cruz who seems to have the momentum as the state GOP prepares to hold Congressional District conventions and a state party meeting that will elect 39 national delegates.

“The Trump campaign hasn’t really gotten out of first gear, but the Cruz campaign is starting to accelerate,” said Brad Wyatt, a longtime party activist who’s not aligned with either the Cruz or Trump camps. Another top Massachusetts Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity said that at best, Trump will find himself in a dogfight for delegates in the state, despite his dominance at the polls.

The cause seems clear to many party insiders: Trump cleaned up among Massachusetts’s huge population of independent voters. But delegate elections are restricted only to the state’s much smaller population of registered Republicans, many of whom more naturally line up with Cruz. That scenario could play out across the country in states that held open primaries, since Republican Party rules limit delegate selection contests to registered Republicans.

“In order to get into the [delegate] caucuses, you have to be a registered Republican by February 10,” said Massachusetts state committeeman Reed Hillman, a Kasich supporter. “That’s going to change the dynamics in terms of the universe of potential participants. The Trump percentage will be significantly lower. The caucuses — I think they’re going to have a lot of energetic people showing up for either Kasich delegates or Cruz delegates.”

Donald Trump’s Convention Nightmare

I still contend that for the sake of the 2016 presidential election and for all the other Republican candidates on the ballot along with the long-term needs and image of the GOP that Donald Trump will not be the nominee.

The ouster of trump, I strongly suspect, will take place at the national convention.  Yes, it will be loud and messy and chaotic.  The GOP will not prevail in the fall with such an upheaval.  But the party knows they will not only lose with Trump in 2016 but damage their party in ways it may never be able to recover from.  It is that last point that makes a convention fight almost a certainty.

If Trump heads into the convention without the magic number of 1,237, already more than a hundred delegates are poised to break with him on a second ballot, according to interviews with dozens of delegates, delegate candidates, operatives and party leaders.  

In one of starkest examples of Trump’s lack of support, out of the 168 Republican National Committee members — each of whom doubles as a convention delegate — only one publicly supports Trump, and she knows of only a handful of others who support him privately.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz has been whipping Trump in the quiet, early race to elect his own loyalists to become delegates to the convention, meaning that the Texas senator could triumph through delegates who are freed to vote their own preferences on a second ballot, regardless of who won their state.

“As far as the stealing of the Trump nomination, that’s a big concern for everybody,” said Diana Orrock, the RNC committeewoman from Nevada and the only one of 112 committeemen and women who openly supports Trump. None of the nation’s 56 state and territory GOP chairmen, also convention delegates, have endorsed Trump either. They are subjected to a mix of state-based rules as far as their obligation to back Trump on the first vote.

The risk of a routing at a contested convention is becoming more acute because of Trump’s uncertain standing going into Wisconsin’s primary on Tuesday. Two polls this week showed Cruz 10 points ahead of Trump in the state.  

How Much Lower Can Donald Trump Go In Eyes Of Women Voters?

Misogyny has a price.

Donald Trump’s image among U.S. women tilts strongly negative, with 70% of women holding an unfavorable opinion and 23% a favorable opinion of the Republican front-runner in March. Trump’s unfavorable rating among women has been high since Gallup began tracking it last July, but after rising slightly last fall, it has increased even further since January.