Obama Disgraces the Dignity of the Presidency 

This will be a short post because the premise is very simple.

I’ve been very uncomfortable with Barack Obama actively campaigning for Hillary Clinton. I believe that a President, once elected should take himself out of “politics” and focus on policy. However I understand the President is considered the leader of his party so my expectation is unrealistic. I’ve given Obama a pass.

Something happened this week that was a bridge too far for me. During a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Obama chose to criticize and mock GOP candidate Donald Trump. While Trump richly deserves to be mocked, this was neither the time nor place. This was not a campaign stump.

The President condemned, possibly, the next President of the United States in front of a world leader who would be working with him. That is inexcusable.

On the other hand Obama was angered by a question about illegal immigration yelled out by another journalist. Obama criticized that reporter’s decorum while showing no decorum himself.

To my mind, the dignity of the presidency demands that the president keep arms length from the selection of his successor. Obama has not properly handled his understandable disdain for Donald Trump. The presidency suffers for it, as does our image on the world stage.

What do you think? The bar is open.


Extreme Vetting – Why I am Endorsing No One this Year

Republican nominee, Donald Trump has famously called for “extreme vetting” of new immigrants and refugees coming to America. It occurs to me that the time has come for extreme vetting of nominees for the office of President of the United States.

We are told by the media that presidential candidates take great pains to vet their VP nominee. Chris Christie’s background was so toxic in 2012 that Mitt Romney passed  him over for VP. (Christie returned the favor by spending most of his GOP convention speech talking about himself.) But who vets the top of the ticket? How would that vetting work?

The Constitution restricts the presidency on only age and citizenship. My guess is the founders wanted the office open to any patriotic American (white men in the late 18th century and any damn fool today). Should prior political experience be a requirement? Four of our presidents got elected with no prior political experience. Based on their service, no definitive causality can be constructed between political experience and success. Zachary Taylor was mediocre and the second elected Whig in a row to die in office. Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation has improved after many years of historical perspective but he’s still not ranked among our best. Herbert Hoover is associated with the worst financial crisis ever suffered by our country. Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over America’s post World War boom and the birth of suburbia. Grant and Eisenhower prove you can have a decent to excellent presidency without prior political experience.

Should some moral test be applied? This is wrought with peril as morality is a shifting target. Trump’s lewd comments caught on tape were uttered 11 years ago in an America increasingly sexualized, prior to the onslaught of the political correctness movement. I am not justifying his behavior but our reaction to it is tempered by the times we are living in. Consider this. Donald Trump boasted about the ability to grab a woman’s “pussy” if he wanted to. Back in the late 1990’s, President Bill Clinton actually inserted a cigar into Monica Lewinsky’s vagina before putting it in his own mouth. Lewinsky was his employee. It was the definition of workplace harassment.  Liberals with their hair on fire right now do not move me one iota. It’s the height of hypocrisy.

It appears that in the past, the primary voters did the vetting and did a decent job of it. In 2012, Herman Cain was a laughing-stock. He rose in the polls for a millisecond and then deservedly slipped back down before leaving the race in scandal. But something strange happened this year. Reince Priebus, GOP Chairman, probably thought Donald entering the race would do no harm and bring a bit of publicity to the party before Jeb Bush was nominated. Things didn’t work out that way. An ignorant electorate conditioned by American Idol, had a massive brain fart and Donald J. Trump, reality star, became the party’s nominee.

Things were only marginally better on the Democrat party side. A woman who has been chased by scandal after scandal, who endangered national security in her one and only Federal appointment (if you don’t count “HillaryCare”), who betrayed the fundamentals of feminism by attacking the victims of her husband’s predatory behavior, who betrayed the progressive agenda with her cozying up to Wall Street (revealed this past Friday but overshadowed by Trump’s pussy scandal), is the chosen nominee of the party. A vote for her is a vote for four years of guaranteed Nixonian paranoia and shenanigans. A vote for Hillary also gives her husband Bill a partial third term in the oval office. The man who once told America “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” while he was using her vagina as a humidor.

So neither gets my vote. For several weeks I toyed with voting for Gary Johnson. Unfortunately, Gary has proven to be a nincompoop. My principle in this election has been to not vote for the lesser of two evils. I want to vote for someone I can believe in. I’m not voting FOR someone as a vote AGAINST someone else.

So I have settled on a decision I first considered several months ago. I am boycotting the 2016 presidential election on the grounds that every candidate being offered is unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. I will vote down-ticket only. I will let the rest of America deal with the pile of shit they brought upon us in the presidential primary season. I will hope that in 2020, some form of extreme vetting saves us from our current predicament.

What do you think? The bar is open.


Let’s Talk Birther

Let me start by saying I am not nor have ever been a birther. With that said there’s a good deal of intellectual dishonesty surrounding coverage of this issue. 

Who Started It

The only TV pundit who has hit the origins of birtherism head on has been MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Not only did he acknowledge that the movement started in 2008 among Clinton supporters, he went so far as to say this weakens Hillary’s ability to attack Trump on the subject. 

The protests that the Clinton “campaign” did not start birtherism is a distinction without a difference. A low level staffer in Iowa pushed it (and was fired), Clinton strategist Mark Penn toyed with it, and Clinton best bud Sid Blumenthal outright said Obama was born in Kenya. I found no record of Hillary herself actively denouncing it. Furthermore, Hillary famously hinted in a “60 Minutes” interview that Obama might be Muslim – he’s a Christian “as far as I know”. 

Hillary needs to let the media fight this on her behalf and just shut up. Her hands are not clean. 

Chris Matthews Nutty Argument Against Birtherism 

Of all the pundits outraged by Donald’s birther nonsense, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the nuttiest argument by putting preposterous logic behind birtherism that was never there in the first place.  According to Matthews, birthers propose that Ann Dunham gave birth to Barack in Kenya and then conspired to have his birthplace changed to Hawaii so that he could one day run for President some 4 decades later. He goes on to note how utterly ludicrous this is. He’s right. It is ludicrous but it’s ludicrous on HIS part. The central premise of birtherism places no guilt on Ann Dunham, nor does it suggest she had Presidential aspirations for her son way back in 1961.  This is made up out of whole cloth by Matthews himself. 

Birtherism is Racist

This assertion is debatable and I’d like to suggest an alternative. If Jesse Jackson or Jim Clyburn had become President, I seriously doubt anyone would have questioned their birthplace. They have the slave-ancestry identity of many blacks in America. Popular wisdom says that Obama got targeted as the first black President. But Obama was also the first Hawaiian President, born there only shortly after Hawaii’s admission to the US. He was also the first President who spent a lot of his youth outside the US (Indonesia, specifically). So to claim the only thing “different” about Obama was his race is just plain dishonest. 

None of this gets The Donald off the hook for perpetuating this foolishness. I don’t think he’s racist. I think he’s an opportinistic attention whore and birtherism would get him clicks and retweets. I actually found his “backwards extortion” of Obama a few years ago far more offensive. In that incident, Trump offered to donate to the charity of Obama’s choice if Obama produced his college records. Essentially he set up a ransom scenario where the kidnapped baby was a charitable donation. Shame this wasn’t illegal cos I’d have thrown Trumps orange ass right in jail for it. 

Bottom line: birtherism was an ugly mess where no one has clean hands. Drop it and move onto the more pressing issue – our choice between a corrupt liar and a reality TV star. Reject both and VOTE JOHNSON! 

What do you think?  The bar is open.