Stupidity Hits Embarrassment Levels For Republican Party

A new Economist/YouGov poll finds 53% of Republicans said Donald Trump was a better president than Abraham Lincoln, while 47% chose the Civil War-era leader.  There is NO way that those who responded in the majority to this polling question read a single volume about Lincoln, or has any shred of knowledge about the time period in which Abe lived.  Stunningly stupid is the only conclusion one can make about the GOP.

Lincoln still overwhelmingly beats Trump among all Americans, 75 percent to 25 percent, with the vast majority of Democrats and independents choosing the former president.  That number is also a damning indictment of the educational level of this nation.  How can that 25% possibly be so ill-informed?

The Economist/YouGov weekly tracking poll surveyed 1,500 Americans from Nov. 24 to Nov. 26 and has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

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Winston Churchill Trivia

In the summer of 1910……Churchill sat on the cowcatcher of a special train the whole 260 miles of the British-built railway to Aydin in Turkeys’ Aegean region.   That nugget is found on page 142 of Churchill: Walking With Destiny. 

This was not the first time Andrew Roberts informs readers of this way to see the sights ‘the Churchill way’.  In the first example, we are told that he strapped a chair to the cowcatcher to ride the rails.  What would have happened had the cowcatcher needed to fulfill its role is left to the imagination.

To say I am totally taken by this book and the story of an epic life, would not sum up how I feel this weekend.   As I am turning the pages the quote from Harry Truman comes to mind.

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

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William Ruckelshaus’s Death Makes Us Ponder Lack Of Integrity Today

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Over this holiday period, I learned of the death of William Ruckelshaus.  He died on Wednesday at the age of 87.

I do wish to pay him honor at Caffeinated Politics for what he did in 1973.  He made for one of those moments in history which we all need to be aware of, and recognize as the way we should wish for all federal employees to act.

Ruckelshaus resigned as deputy attorney general rather than carry out President Richard Nixon’s illegal order to fire the independent special Watergate prosecutor in the constitutional crisis of 1973 known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.  Now I fully understand he had an amazing career and his part that night decades ago should not be his legacy.  But given how much I write on this blog about character, and the need for virtue in public servants means that stressing his role at that time needs to be underscored.

Readers of history will recall that by the time of that famed Saturday night Nixon had already lost many of his closest associates.  By that time Ruckelshaus had been named acting head of the F.B.I.. The reason for that placement was due to his predecessor having allowed Nixon aides to examine Watergate files and had even destroyed evidence in the case.  Then he was named the top deputy to the attorney general.

On the night of the massacre, Nixon ordered his top three Justice Department officials, one after another, to fire the Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox, rather than comply with his subpoena for nine incriminating Oval Office tape recordings.  Ruckelshaus refused to fire Cox and resigned, as it should be noted his own dismissal was being issued by the White House.  Attorney General Elliot Richardson also resigned that night and serves as another shining example of principle and adherence to law and order. 

We need more people like Ruckelshaus in the government today.  People who are experts in their field, doing their jobs with honor and mindful of the Constitution.   Consider the need to even write such lines, or use a blog post to make such a point.  Yes, he was a man of courage in harsh political times.  But is it not a sad statement, especially about our current crisis, that honesty, decency, and sound character is considered to be extraordinary, rather than the norm?

Integrity matters.  It did then.  It does now.

Pete Buttigieg Crafting Message For National Race

What creates a winning hand, with a diverse electorate, is always the key when it comes to waging a fight for the presidential nomination.  Pete Buttigieg has intrigued me, again and again, with his tone and ‘sales pitch’ as he works for a win in Iowa.  He is very intelligent and that impresses me greatly.  But he is also proving to have a skill set with campaigning which is most important to what will be required for a Democrat to prevail in 2020.  What he is doing in Iowa will play well for large swaths of the nation.  Watch his messaging in the next few weeks.

As Mr. Buttigieg, 37, looks to solidify his support in the remaining weeks before the Democratic primary season begins, he has found a wellspring of enthusiasm among a critical bloc of voters more frequently associated with Joseph Biden: older white Americans.”

“During a burst of campaign stops in Iowa this week, his first trip to the state since a Des Moines Register/CNN poll showed him with a commanding, nine-point lead here, Mr. Buttigieg repeatedly made appeals to older Iowans that were hardly subtle. ‘We’ve got to act not just to shore up Social Security but to make sure everybody can retire and live in dignity,’ he said at a rally on Monday evening in Council Bluffs, Iowa. ‘Call it my ‘Gray New Deal.’’

Trump’s Golf Sprees Cost Taxpayers $115 Million

It comes as no shock that Donald Trump will say anything, and his supporters will swallow hook, line, and sinker any words that he spews.  While a substantial share of his political base comes from the lower economic brackets one does wonder if they are aware of what the word hypocrisy means?  

With his Thanksgiving vacation, President Donald Trump’s golf hobby has now cost Americans an estimated $115 million in travel and security expenses ― the equivalent of 287 years of the presidential salary he frequently boasts about not taking.

Of that amount, many hundreds of thousands ― perhaps millions ― of dollars have gone into his own cash registers, as Secret Service agents, White House staff and other administration officials stay and eat at his hotels and golf courses.

The exact amount cannot be determined because the White House refuses to reveal how many Trump aides have been staying at his properties when he visits them and will not turn over receipts for the charges incurred.

In response to a HuffPost query on Wednesday asking if she knew how many administration officials other than herself are staying at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, during his Thanksgiving stay, and how much it is all costing, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham responded with a one-word answer: “No.”

But lawsuits filed by news organizations and watchdog groups against other executive branch agencies ― the White House is exempt from Freedom of Information Act queries ― have revealed payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, arguably in violation of the Constitution’s domestic emoluments clause, which prohibits Trump from accepting benefits beyond his salary from the federal or any state government.

ProPublica, for example, found that Mar-a-Lago charged taxpayers $546 a night for rooms ― three times the per-diem rate and the maximum allowed by federal rules ― for 24 Trump administration officials who stayed there during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017. Taxpayers also picked up a $1,006.60 bar tab for 54 top shelf drinks ordered by White House staff.