Tommy Thompson Missed A Sister Souljah Moment

If we question why it seems so hard for Republican presidential candidates to speak with authority as to why Donald Trump is damaging the party and not good for the nation we need to keep in mind that it is also somehow hard for others in the GOP to speak out clearly on the matter.

This weekend I was rather surprised to see the elder statesman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, former Governor Tommy Thompson, not speak more forthrightly about Trump.  Appearing on UpFront With Mike Gousha it was clear that a direct and candid answer was not something Thompson was interested in giving about the current leader in the presidential contest.

The former leader of this state did comment twice that he firmly believed Trump would not be the eventual nominee. Most lucid-minded people think the same thing.  But when pressed by the host to answer who would get his vote should the contest be between Hillary Clinton and Trump there was a strong statement that Thompson would vote Republican.

I fully understand the reason that people tied to a political party answer in that fashion.  I could vote for Joe Biden as easily as Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.  I know that Thompson could have easily said the same about Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or a list of others running for the nomination.

But Donald Trump is simply an embarrassment with no substance on the issues that deservers nothing short of repudiation.  There must come a time when the seasoned and respected establishment within the Republican Party stands up and makes it known that what played out this summer was nothing short of absurd and can not continue.

In short, the Republican Party needs a Sister Souljah moment.  Gousha had teed up the question so Thompson could have once more scored for the party who he has long supported and worked with.  But Thompson bunted the ball.

At some point very soon the adults in the GOP will need to once again drive the bus and a real contest for the nomination must get underway.  I was hoping when the questions by Gousha started that this would be the moment when such a line in the sand was drawn.  After all, Thompson is someone who has respect on both sides of the aisle and can still command attention when he wants to say something of importance.

Had Thompson given the answer about Trump that I know he truly feels it would have shown that he may be older but no less a leader.

Scott Walker Campaign Slipping And Sliding Away

There is no good news in the press today for Scott Walker who is trying to make it seem he is capable and credible enough to be president.  After not out-right dismissing the idea of a fence between the United States and Canada as a crazy notion on Meet The Press Walker is left to only hear the laughter and see the shaking heads from those who once thought he had what it took to be in the top tier of contenders for 2016.  The problem is, of course, that this comment was not the first–nor will it be the last–from someone who is not smart enough to be a cabinet secretary let alone sit in the Oval Office. What we are witnessing is simply embarrassing and it reflects poorly on Wisconsin.

The Washington Post started their news article today with laying the Walker campaign problem front and center for all to see.

But his candidacy has wilted in the heat of a summer dominated by Donald Trump, with loyalists and supporters now calling for an immediate mid-course correction.

Walker’s backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump’s booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues. They see in Walker a candidate who — in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races — continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman’s following.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who often has allowed Walker more breathing space politically weighed in, too.

Polling data shows that the governor’s greatest loss of home-state support this year has occurred among independents, moderates and voters in northern and western Wisconsin, swing regions that were key to Walker’s statewide victories.

“It’s really in the middle of the (political) spectrum … where we’ve seen a substantial falloff in his support,” says Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette University Law School poll, who provided the numbers for this analysis.

Statewide, Walker’s approval rating is down a little more than 8 points among registered voters this year, from an average of 48.6% in the four pre-election polls Marquette did in the fall of 2014 to an average of 40.3% in Marquette’s two 2015 polls.

That drop in approval coincides with a controversial budget and the governor’s presidential bid, which is also struggling at the moment.

The trend is all the more striking because in the three previous years, Walker’s approval rating rarely budged, never rising above 51% or dropping below 46% in 27 polls during 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The Associated Press summed up the chaos concerning the issues that Walker has bungled along the way, proving he is not ready for prime time.

He also outlined his foreign policy goals, criticized President Barack Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton as “leading from behind” and called for a state visit with the Chinese president to be canceled.

Yet in the past 10 days, Walker also changed his stance three times on whether he, like Trump, favored doing away with the constitutional right to citizenship granted to people born in the United States. Walker finally said he had no position on the issue and he would not seek repeal of the 14th Amendment that provides that right.

During his campaigning, he has drawn the ire of Wisconsin state lawmakers who chafed at Walker, saying they weren’t on board with his 2011 push to weaken the state’s public employee unions.

In New Hampshire, Walker also said recently there were only a “handful” of moderate followers of Islam — a religion followed by more than a billion people worldwide. His campaign spokeswoman later attempted to dampen criticism of his comment, issuing a statement that Walker knows that the majority of Muslims “want to live in peace.”

In addition there is a powerful graph from the MJS that shows the problems that Walker has created and is unable to manage.

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Pope Francis To Tackle Donald Trump And Immigration On U.S. Trip

Their is no way not to see the xenophobia, bigotry, and hate from Donald Trump and his followers when it comes to the issue of immigration.  There is also no way to better sum up the world view of this matter, and put a moral context to it, than from Pope Francis who will be visiting the United States soon and speaking to the issue.

Vatican Ambassador Kenneth Hackett had some most interesting words in relation to the Pope’s immigration message that will be made on American soil.  There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s call for a border fence between Mexico and the United States and the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants will be dealt a severe blow from the one who talks with God more than mere presidential hopefuls ever do, according to the Associated Press.

“I think he’ll call us to continue to engage with it (the world), don’t throw any walls up around our nation, don’t revert to isolationism,” Hackett said. “We are a nation of welcoming people, so that’s where I think he will put his attention.”

Just to pile on the level of embarrassment for conservatives the Pope is also likely to discuss income inequality and the environment while he is in the country.  Ka-Ching.

It will be interesting to see how Catholics respond to the words of their Holy Father.

David Duke Likes Donald Trump….Racists Unite

Who could not have predicted this news nugget?

David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and self-described “racial realist,” says Donald Trump is the best Republican candidate for president because he “understands the real sentiment of America.”

Duke, who unsuccessfully ran for president as a Democrat in 1988 and later served in the Louisiana House of Representatives, noted Trump’s experience as a salesman and his “great sense” of what people want to buy.

“I praise the fact that he’s come out on the immigration issue. I’m beginning to get the idea that he’s a good salesman. That he’s an entrepreneur and he has a good sense of what people want to hear what they want to buy,” said Duke on his radio program last week after noting that he had previously been critical of Trump’s run.

After going on a rant about “Jewish domination” of the media, Duke said Trump is saying things few other Republicans say about immigration

“Trump, he’s really going all out. He’s saying what no other Republicans have said, few conservatives say. And he’s also gone to point where he says it’s not just illegal immigration, it’s legal immigration,” Duke said, adding Trump has also talked about companies are taking advantage of the H1B visa program. Duke added that he felt the big technology companies were headed by “Zios.”

Donald Trump Would Even Scare Pope Francis

Can you even image Pope Francis allowing a visit from Donald Trump?

So having said that.

Donald Trump was asked by Chris Cuomo on CNN how he would respond if Pope Francis told him that capitalism can be toxic.

Said Trump: “I’d say, ‘ISIS wants to get you. You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy.”

Cuomo, taken aback, asked if Trump would actually scare the Pope, who is coming to the U.S. for his first visit next month.

Said Trump: “I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing.”

At this point the Pope would throw holy water on Trump’s head and that mass of god-only-knows-what would start to burn and sizzle.

Tom Brokaw Nails The Truth About Donald Trump’s Downfall

I have been as flummoxed as every other political observer over the rise of Donald Trump and his ability to stay at the top of polls in state after state.   And Like many others I subscribe to some rules of the road that exist in politics just like gravity controls where an apple lands when it falls.   The middle holds–the establishment prevails, etc.  I  still believe that people–for whatever they bluster during a campaign season–take their vote seriously and want a serious president.  They will never cast a winning vote in the general election for someone who can not fulfill the duties of the Oval Office.

In other words Donald Trump can never win the White House.

Still I am totally amazed and admittedly upset at times as I watch this Trump drama unfold that someone with no policy credentials to his name can land at the top of the polls.  As such I read a lot and try to better understand what is happening.  I can not say any of it makes sense even weeks into this chaos.   (So people are angry about government.  Do something productive instead of applauding a buffoon.)  I just can not get my head around what makes for headlines these days.

Which leads me to the following.

It took me all the way to the end of a very long (and great) article this morning to land upon the words in the final paragraphs from former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw.

“In politics, particularly presidential races, my oft repeated mantra is the UFO rule. At some point, the unforeseen will occur,” Tom Brokaw, the veteran NBC News anchor who has covered presidential elections dating back to Johnson vs. Goldwater.  

“Gary Hart and Monkey Business, Dukakis failing to defend Kitty, Bush 41 and the Perot factor. What the UFO will be this time, I don’t know yet, but there will be one — and not just for Trump,” he said. “All the candidates in both parties are vulnerable.”

We know it is coming and for Trump deservedly so. 

Scott Walker Intimidated By Reporters

Last Friday the all-news channel I was watching broke into their programming with Donald Trump’s press conference. I am not a fan of his style of politics which to me is akin to sand paper being rubbed on the raw emotions of the body politic. But I will be the first to admit he was not afraid to tangle with the press and respond to every question thrown his way.

On Tuesday I watched in dismay as Hillary Clinton could not—or more likely would not—address forthrightly a series of reporters’ questions concerning the email debacle that has sidetracked her candidacy.  But with pluck and punch Clinton did not duck and hide but instead stood to face the questions and should at least be credited for stepping up to the podium and the cameras.

But what has troubled me most over this week concerning candidates and their dealing with the press is how Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is unable to stand on his own two feet to answer their questions.

On Tuesday, Walker’s policy team held a press call with reporters to discuss the Wisconsin governor’s health care plan, as well as his intention to repeal and replace Obamacare. But when reporters tried to submit a question, they were greeted by a press aide who demanded to know what question each reporter intended to ask. 

“Was on Gov. Walker health plan press call. First time as a reporter I’ve ever had my questions pre-screened before I could ask them,” Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal’s health care policy reporter, tweeted after the call.

One of the reasons this nation has such a long campaign season for president is that we want to truly vet the candidate who will lead this country and be the most important person on the world stage. We want to know how they think and will respond to unpredictable events. That includes how they respond to reporters’ questions.

The working press should have probing questions of candidates and demand answers. After all, reporters and the press are essential components of our democracy. To undercut or bypass the press underserves the citizenry the candidates claim to have such an interest in representing.

Walker can tout all he likes about being “unintimidated”.  But we have witnessed yet again that he is not as agile on his feet with reporters as he would like to be when on the national stage.

Walker is not ready for prime time when it comes to off-the-cuff responses as his immirgation comments over the past few days prove. I can understand why his handlers want to protect him from saying things they need to later address in a press release or work to iron out on the campaign trial.  But the people of this country deserve and expect a candidate competent enough to handle questions without needing to have them pre-screened.

One has to wonder if pigs ever fly and Walker should be elected to the Oval Office if Russia’s president will present his talking points in advance so not to blindside Walker?

There is just no getting around the fact Walker is over his head in his quest for the White House and falling further behind as a result.  The way he is now trying to thwart the working press is just one more example of the limitations Walker has of thinking and talking at the same time.

I very much dislike Trump and find Clinton less than forthright but they at least step up and take reporters questions head-on.

The Wall Street Journal Takes Donald Trump To Task Over Immigration

Two themes on this blog merge here in this post.

First, a long time pondering of mine concerns the short-sighted thinking of the Republican Party when it comes to immigrants and immigration reform. I have strongly supported the bi-partisan immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate and have decried the racist and xenophobic actions and language used by conservatives over the years. The changing demographics in the country are simply a fact and it puzzles me why more within the GOP do not understand their plight as a party if they do not adapt.

The second and newer theme I repeat is that the establishment wing of the GOP will undo Donald Trump. He is a walking buffoon or as I have termed it here on this a blog nothing more than a son-of-a-bitch. He gets no regard on this blog for how he has treated all sorts of people from President Obama to people who work for cable TV shows.

Today both those themes merged in a stinging and powerfully written top editorial in The Wall Street Journal. I think the newspaper is going to tackle Trump and spit him out in due time. Last week I posted a story about the need for workers in this country and how immigrants are needed in the labor pool. Today the WSJ continued with that theme on their Op/Ed page.

Are his police going to search from door to door to arrest 11 million people? How else will they be rounded up?

Mr. Trump says he would keep families together, which would at least spare the scenes of tearful mothers hauled away from their crying children. But Republicans may want to think twice before becoming the party responsible for piling onto buses entire families who are stitched into the fabric of communities. This is not a good political look.

Republicans may also want to ask whether Mr. Trump’s proposals fit with free-market principles. Mr. Trump insists that Mexico will “pay for” the wall he wants to build on the southern U.S. border, but even he seems to realize no sovereign state would do this.

Mr. Trump’s flight from economic sense includes increasing the prevailing wage regulations for temporary legal H-1B visas—that is, he’ll instruct private businesses how to compensate their workers. So will we now have a Republican version of the Davis-Bacon Act for immigrant employees?

For a man who has succeeded in business Mr. Trump seems to know little about labor markets. Thousands of U.S. employers depend on the flow of temporary seasonal workers. Mr. Trump seems to think that if those workers aren’t allowed to enter the U.S. employers will simply raise wages. But the Journal reported last week that crops across the West are rotting in the fields for lack of farmhands, despite offers of $17 an hour with benefits for U.S. workers.

A Guatemalan picking strawberries in Washington state doesn’t mean a native-born worker has lost a job. The increasingly integrated North American markets are not zero sum, and the most likely result of the U.S. immigration standstill is moving factories, businesses and farms overseas where labor is cheaper. Or some services will simply vanish in the U.S. as too costly to sustain.

The last time Republicans tried this, in the 1920s, they alienated immigrant groups like the Irish and Italians for decades until Ronald Reagan won them back. If they want to lose in 2016, they’ll follow Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant siren.